“Ireland’s national dish, collar of bacon, is a delicious alternative to Easter lamb. You can forage for the nettles for the mash if you know what to look for, but do so away from any dog haunts. You’ll need to start this recipe a day ahead. ”
- 2 kg higher-welfare bacon collar
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 1 leek
- 1 bulb of garlic
- olive oil
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 750 ml white wine
- NETTLE MASH
- 1.5 kg Maris Piper potatoes
- 1 kg nettles or spinach
- 100 g butter
- 100 ml milk
- 150 ml single cream
- HERB CRUMB
- fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 200 g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons English mustard
- Soak the bacon overnight in a pot of cold water.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 120ºC/gas ½. Drain and rinse the bacon.
- Peel and dice the onions and carrots, trim and dice the leek, then separate and peel the garlic cloves.
- Heat a splash of oil in a large, heavy-based pan or casserole. Add the onion, carrot, leek, garlic and thyme and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the wine and collar of bacon, cover, and cook in the oven for 2 hours, or until a knife comes out clean when it pierces the meat.
- About 15 minutes before the bacon is done, start the nettle mash. Cube the potatoes, then place in a saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 25 minutes, or until soft.
- Wearing rubber gloves, wash the nettles, then blanch in a pan of boiling water. Drain and finely chop.
- Rest the bacon in its juices for 20 minutes, then remove the layer of skin and fat. Discard the vegetables.
- Drain the potatoes, return to the pan, then add the nettles, butter, milk and cream. Mash well.
- For the herb crumb, pick and finely chop the parsley leaves, using as much as you like, then combine with the breadcrumbs and mustard.
- Spread on top of the meat, then slice. Serve with the nettle mash and some braised cabbage if you like.
Nettles are at their best in spring. Buy them from farmers’ markets or online in the UK from natoora.co.uk
Source: Jamie Oliver