Dutch Oven Asparagus and Peas is made with simple, spring fresh ingredients that yields bright bold flavors with every bite.
The often maligned vegetables, asparagus and peas, come together in perfect harmony with leeks, bacon, fresh garden herbs, and a splash of brightening citrus. After all, what grows together goes together and this recipe is no exception.
This post has been updated from its original publishing date of May 2, 2017 with new content, photography, and recipe card.
Why this recipe works
Cooking doesn’t always have to be complex in order to have big flavor. Oftentimes, it’s the simplest of ingredients in their season that are the best.
Modern food preservation methods have really perfected certain things like frozen peas. But nothing beats fresh, in-season asparagus.
While I truly advocate seasonally fresh asparagus, I tend to draw the line at having to shell fresh peas.
Plus when I do grow them in my garden, they rarely make it from the vine to the kitchen. We tend to eat them while picking other items. Oops! Frozen peas are my go-to almost every time when cooking.
- Asparagus — remove the woody stems by feeling for the natural bend in the stalk and snap it off. Cut the remaining stalk into 2-inch pieces.
- Peas — We use frozen sweet peas. You can use fresh shelled sweet peas as well. Canned will work too, but we’re not a big fan of their muted, mushy flavor.
- Bacon — Cut one pound of bacon into small pieces. Fry in the Dutch oven until crispy. Drain the rendering, reserving a small amount in the Dutch oven.
- Leeks — Leeks are finishing their ‘fresh’ season as asparagus and peas start theirs. This makes for a robust combination. Leeks are DIRTY. Then need to be thoroughly cleaned before cooking. Slice them then rinse under cool water removing all the debris.
- Herbs and Seasonings — fresh tarragon, chives, and parsley along with salt and pepper. Finely chop the fresh herbs and set aside. To keep them from drying out, place a damp paper towel over the bowl and place them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Butter — Butter, much like bacon, just makes everything better.
- Lemon — Freshly squeezed lemon brightens and emboldens the flavor of each individual ingredient bringing the entire dish together.
Step 1 — Bring a large pot of water to boil. Wash the asparagus. Firmly hold the woody bottom part of the stem and gently bend the stalk slowly moving up towards the tip. You will feel where it naturally wants to snap. Snap there. Discard the woody stems and cut the remaining stalk in 2-inch pieces.
Step 2 — Cut the leek in half, then slice both halves. Place the pieces in a sieve and rinse under cool water until all the dirt and debris is gone.
Step 3 — After chopping the bacon into the desired pieces, fry on medium-high heat in the Dutch oven.
Step 4 — Add the leeks to the cooking bacon. If the bacon is not rendering enough fat (it happens), you may want to add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to keep things from sticking.
Step 5 — Once the pot of water comes to a boil, generously salt the water and wait for it to return to a boil. Once the water has resumed boiling, add the asparagus. Blanch for one minute and then add the peas. Boil for an additional minute then drain and rinse under cold water.
Step 6 — Drain off all the excess renderings (if there is any) but you can leave a bit for flavor. Add the butter and melt.
Step 7 — Stir the blanched asparagus and peas into the bacon and leeks.
Step 8 — Add the fresh tarragon, chives, and parsley. Stir well making sure they are dispersed throughout the whole dish.
Step 9 — Sprinkle in the salt and pepper, stirring well. Squeeze the fresh lemon over the dish and stir. Toss in the fresh lemon as an added flourish. Serve and enjoy this Dutch Oven Asparagus and Peas.
Additions, substitutions, and variations
- Add halved and sliced Brussels sprouts when adding the leeks.
- Add sliced mushrooms to the bacon and leeks.
- Use diced onion instead of leeks.
- Use diced ham instead bacon.
- Sprinkle red pepper flakes before adding the lemon for a slight kick.
- Use diced green onions instead of chives.
Yes, you can. You’ll only need about a 1/3 of the fresh amount. Except for the chives.
If you like frozen asparagus, then this dish will taste delicious using frozen asparagus.
You can use fresh basil, fresh mint, dried or fresh dill, fresh or dried oregano, or dried marjoram. Simply pick which you one you like and go with it. But don’t use them all. That’d be overkill.
Absolutely. You’ll need to add more butter to keep it sautéing and then add the peas about 2-3 minutes before the asparagus is done. Adding more butter if needed.
What to serve with Dutch Oven Asparagus and Peas
- Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese
- Peppered Bacon Meatloaf
- Moroccan Spiced Grilled Steak
- Honey Mustard Wings
- Mississippi Pot Roast
- Honey and Mustard-Glazed Ham
- Cedar Plank Salmon
Dutch Oven Asparagus and Peas
- 5 quart enameled Dutch oven or larger
- 2 lbs asparagus trimmed and sliced
- 3 cups frozen sweet peas
- 1 lb bacon chopped
- 1 leek halved and sliced
- 3 tbsp butter
- ½ tbsp tarragon fresh, chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
- 1 tbsp chives fresh, chopped
- 1 ½ tsp salt +/- to taste
- ½ tsp pepper +/- to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat; salt generously
- Prep all the ingredients
- Heat the Dutch oven over medium high heat and cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the leeks to the bacon and cook until bacon is done, another 2-3 minutes.
- Blanch the asparagus for 1 minute then add the peas boiling for an additional 1 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water.
- Add the butter to the bacon and leeks, once melted, add the blanched asparagus and peas.
- Stir in the tarragon, parsley, and chives.
- Season with the salt and pepper then squeeze in the fresh lemon juice. Serve and enjoy.
Dutch Oven Daddy is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.