As I’m going to spend all winter making (and eating) bacon sandwiches – I have to be sure I can make a good one before the food truck opens – I thought it prudent to dig out the stash of pork belly and loin I had in the freezer.
The bacon we sell is from our rare breed pigs but is cured and smoked by the butcher/abattoir because we aren’t set up to do this for commercial sale ….. yet …. although we do have grand, crazy plans to fairly soon be in a position to do this. However, I quite like curing and smoking my own bacon, so for home use, I tend to make my own – see here for how to and see here for how NOT to.
Last week having cured and then hung for nearly two weeks it was time to start smoking.
As you can see I have a high-tech set up. I don’t actually do the smoking on the table – I do it in the outside workshop.
After a day in the smoker the bacon was ready to slice.
Even with my super-cool slicing machine there is always a lump of bacon left at the end of slicing. This gets chopped up and added to salads, used instead of pancetta in a cabbage stew (this is a really lovely dish, but just make sure that you pancetta doesn’t have any passengers!) or shoved in home-made baked beans.
Last week I made baked beans. I used some of my dried borlotti – god I love borlotti beans – next year I really will grow a whole field of them. I also shoved in there some teeny-tiny carrots, frost-bitten celery, onion and garlic.
For stock I used pig head stock, as i think it gives a nice gelatinous feel to the whole thing but you could use any kind of stock or maybe even water.
Baked Beans and Bacon: end piece of bacon; dried (or tinned beans); onions; carrots, celery, garlic; stock; couple of frozen tomatoes (or tinned); lard or oil.
Soak and cook your beans if you are using dried beans. Fry the bacon in a casserole dish in some lard. Remove the bacon from the pan, add in the veggies (not the tomatoes) and cook gently for a while.
Add in the tomatoes, bacon, beans and stock and bring to the simmer for a while. Put in the oven for as long as you can. Check every now and again to make sure there is enough liquid in there and it hasn’t stuck too much on the bottom of the pan. It will form a nice crust on top. Serve with bread or anything you like.
N.B. I also trial smoked some of my honey – squeak it tastes amazing and I am looking forward to cooking with it …. more on that later.
N.B. I know the links make it look as if my meat curing is exceedingly dodgy, but I have got better at it …. no really I have!