Tag Archives: bacon

Beef Bourguignon

This is one of our favorite recipes. It’s time-consuming to prepare, but absolutely delicious. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 3 pounds, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Bacon, thick-cut, 6-8 slices
  • Red wine, 2 cups, divided
  • Onions, 2 medium, thinly sliced
  • Carrots, 4 medium, diced
  • Celery, 3 stalks, diced
  • Mushrooms, 1 pound, quartered
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
  • Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon (or more, if you don’t want to waste the rest)
  • Chicken broth, 1-2 cups
  • Thyme, 3-4 sprigs, fresh
  • Bay leaf, 1

You may also want to serve with paste, or a baguette, or with chopped parsley to garnish.

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The ingredients.

The first step is to chop up the bacon, and fry it, like so:

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Bacon in a pan.

Remove the bacon from the pan – you’ll add it later. And remove most of the bacon grease as well; leave just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

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Bacon outside a pan.

Prepare your beef with as much salt and pepper as you prefer.

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Peppered beef!

Then begin to sear the cubes in batches. Don’t crowd the meat, and be sure to let it char a bit before you dislodge it. You’re not actually trying to cook it thoroughly; instead, you’re simply searing it in the bacon fat.

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Deliciousness.

Once you’re done with a batch, put the cubes in your slow cooker.

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In the slow cooker.

Add a bit of the wine to the pan, a quarter cup each time, to dislodge and scrape off whatever bits of meat may remain, pour/scrape those into the slow cooker, as well. Continue until all the beef is prepared.

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Cleaning the pan with wine.

Next, prepare your carrots, celery, and onion.

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Veggies, sweet veggies.

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Oh, and onions too.

Fry the onion in some more of the bacon grease until it’s browned, and then add in the carrots and the celery; cook until soft.

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Now they’re golden.

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Cooked in bacon grease.

Then add in a few more ingredients – the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook until fragrant, and then add the whole mixture to the slow cooker.

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With garlic and tomato paste.

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Then into the slow cooker.

Make sure the pan is clean, and then add more of the bacon grease; add the mushrooms when it’s warm, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt (to help release the liquid from the mushrooms). Cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Then set the mushrooms aside – you’ll add them later, just like the bacon.

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Before.

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And after.

As for the stuff in the slow cooker, you slow cook it. Covered, on low, for 8 hours or so. Before you do, add in a teaspoon of salt, the bay leaf, and the sprigs of thyme. Also pour in the rest of the wine and the chicken broth; the liquid should come about three-quarters of the way to the top of the ingredients.

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Slow cooking.

Then, in 6-8 hours, mix in the mushrooms and the bacon, and enjoy (perhaps with pasta or good bread). It’s delicious!

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Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a traditionally southern dish that’s often made to celebrate the New Year. It’s also delicious. The ingredients are:

  • Black-eyed peas (1 pound)
  • Rice (3 cups)
  • Collard greens or kale (1-2 bunches)
  • Bacon (half pound or so)
  • Onions (3 large, diced)
  • Garlic (1 head or so, minced)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
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The ingredients

The black-eyed peas require special attention. If you don’t soften them up enough, they’ll be somewhat crunchy, and the whole dish will be less pleasant.

So you may want to start by soaking them for an hour, and then rinsing them. But the key thing is to cook them well. Place them in a pot, cover them with water, and boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes at least, and then let them stand in the hot water for another hour, before straining them out and rinsing them in cold water.

 

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Before boiling.

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After boiling. Don’t be worried about the detritus that collects at the top; just skim it off.

You should also make 3 cups of rice; I use a rice cooker.

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Rice-making

Cut the bacon into smallish pieces, and cook until crispy, then remove from the pan.

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Bacon-cutting.

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Bacon-cooking.

Leave the bacon grease in the pan. It’s the grease that lend its flavor the rest of the dish.

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Onion-cooking.

First, fry up the onions until soft. Then add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for another minute or two.

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The garlic, pre-mincing.

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With the garlic and pepper flakes added.

Then shred up the greens and add them to the pot. They’ll cook down and become tender in the grease.

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The shredded greens will…

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…cook down.

This is then the time to strain, rinse, and add the beans to the pot, as well as the rice.

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Bean-straining.

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Rice-adding.

Mix it all together, and season to taste with the salt and pepper, and you’re done!

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Yum

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Bacon-Wrapped Dates

This appetizer is delicious, decadent, and easy to make. These are the ingredients:

  • Medium or thick-cut bacon
  • Pitted Dates
  • Blue cheese (or gorgonzola)
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The ingredients

Pitted dates have had the pits removed; you can usually find bags of 25 or so at your local grocery. Simply look for the seam and open them up. While you’re at it, you should pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

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Split the dates.

Then cram the inside – where that pit used to be – with blue cheese, and close them up again.

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Fill them with cheese.

Then wrap with bacon. A single slice should be cut in half, because half a strip is enough for wrapping a single date. Secure in place with a toothpick if you have them; you can make do without if not.

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Wrap them in bacon.

The convenient way to cook them if to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, because the grease will pool on the paper and be easy to dispose of. But again, you can make do without if need be.

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Lay them out and put them in the oven!

Cook them in the oven for roughly 30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Then pull them out and enjoy!

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Yum.

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