Eat less meat ... and you’ll enjoy it more

Gratin of chicory and bacon
Gratin of chicory and bacon

Tom Parker Bowles is aware that he could sound like a walking contradiction.

The food writer – son of Camilla Parker Bowles – knows writing a book called ‘Let’s Eat Meat’ then encouraging people to eat less of the stuff, but spend more on more ethically-produced meat, might sound counter-intuitive.

“I do believe that if you eat a little less meat, you can afford to buy better and use more of the cuts that are cheaper.

“The point of this book, if there is any point, is eat meat, love it, worship it, but eat less of it and eat better meat,” he summarises, smiling.

Here is one of his dishes to try:

GRATIN OF CHICORY AND BACON

(Serves 6)

50g butter

6 heads of chicory (white, red or a combination), discoloured outer leaves removed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

50g Parmesan, finely grated

100g coarse fresh white breadcrumbs

3tbsp chopped fresh parsley

100g lean unsmoked bacon rashers, cut into 1cm pieces

300ml double cream

Lemon quarters, to serve

Preheat the oven to fan 210C/415F/Gas 8. Generously butter a large gratin dish.

Split the chicory in two, lengthwise. Pack it into the gratin dish in a tight single layer, split side down, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and bacon, and scatter evenly over the surface.

Place the dish in the oven and, after a few minutes, turn the temperature down to fan 170C/340F/Gas 5. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and trickle the cream around the sides of the gratin.

Bake for another 30 minutes or so, trickling in more cream if it didn’t all fit in first time, until bubbling and golden. Serve with lemon quarters.