Posts Tagged ‘Arkansas peppered bacon’

Five-State Bacon Salad

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

This is not a bacon book recipe, but Fred Sauceman, who is a professor at East Tennessee State University (and is in the Bacon book, in the section about Chocolate Gravy), recently made this dish:


It’s a salad using these five artisanal bacons from the Bacon book, from five different states:

Benton’s (Tennessee), Broadbent (Kentucky), Edwards’ (Virginia), Arkansas Peppered, and Nueske’s (Wisconsin).

Fred elaborated: “We’ve served ‘bacon salads’; like this on several occasions, since guests really enjoy the bacon geography. In this case, I dressed the salad with a simple French vinaigrette: finely chopped shallots, red wine vinegar, Maille mustard, peanut oil, salt, and pepper. –Fred”

Devils on Horseback

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Otherwise known as, bacon-wrapped prunes! I had made the bacon-wrapped dates with long pepper several times, but figured it was time to try this variation.

Here are my ingredients – Arkansas peppered bacon and prunes, and toothpics.

prunes and bacon

The prunes were smaller but denser than the dates, and the half-slices of bacon wrapped around sometimes more like 1.5 to 2 times. I did not precook the bacon, but those who like their bacon very well done might consider cooking it partway before wrapping them. It only took a few minutes of prep, and then my wrapped prunes were ready to roll:

bacon wrapped prunes

I preheated the oven itself to 500 F, then changed it to broil and put in the bacon-wrapped prunes, but lowered the broil temperature to 400 F. So it cooked a bit slower and took a bit longer (maybe 15 minutes – I flipped them at about 7-8 minutes), which I think helped cook the inner layers. Here they are fresh from the oven:

cooked bacon-wrapped prunes

I let them sit for 5 minutes or so, and then dove in and tried one. Well, two. Or maybe three. I liked the combo of the smoky peppery bacon with the chewy, tart, complex flavor of the prunes. Bacon-wrapped dates are almost like eating bacon-candy, even with the long pepper stuffed inside. This was much more savory. The Arkansas peppered bacon went very well with the prunes, gave them more kick.  I restrained myself and brought the rest to an open house, they were very well received!

The recipe follows, from page 164 of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon:

Devils on Horseback

These are made in the same manner as Angels on Horseback (bacon-wrapped oysters), except that the oysters are replaced by dark Devils—in this case, prunes. Pork and prunes are a classic combination found in all sorts of big-flavored dishes from southwestern France, and this easy-to-make appetizer delivers that same wonderful flavor pairing to your guests in mere minutes! Of course you know already that I’m going to say you have to find really good ingredients to work with—my favorites are the prunes from Agen in France, but I don’t think you can get them in the U.S. anymore. If you find a variety that’s better than the standard supermarket grade, grab it. I like to make this dish with one of the smoky, dry-cured bacons to balance the sweetness of the dried fruit.


8 really good prunes, pitted

4 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise


Heat the broiler.

Wrap a half-slice of bacon around each prune and then run a toothpick through the whole thing to hold it together. Place on a baking sheet, run it under the broiler and cook until the bacon is done, turning the “devils” halfway through the cooking. Again, if you want the bacon well done, you’ll do better to cook it partially through on its own before you do the wrapping.

Bacon Hash

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

I harvested the last of my potatoes, and decided to try making the Bacon Hash recipe with them. I hadn’t actually planted potatoes this year – my harvest was from the potatoes that escaped being harvested last year! I had a combination of Peruvian Purples and I think German Butterballs.


I had picked up some Arkansas Peppered bacon at Zingerman’s Deli yesterday, sliced medium-thick.


I cooked the bacon on a rack on a cookie sheet in the oven – put it in a cold oven and then turned the oven on to 350, and cooked it for about half an hour – I took it out when the bacon was still bendable, not crisp. I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. I have to admit, this was the first time I had steamed potatoes, OVER salted water, rather than boiling them IN salted water. It worked fine! Although I did cut the potatoes into large chunks before I steamed them, because of the wide disparity in sizes – some of the potatoes were quarter-sized, others were quite large.  I chopped up celery, onion, and a red pepper as called for. The chicken stock was homemade – I make large batches and freeze quarts of it, very handy to have around and so much tastier than what you can buy in the supermarket. The flour was Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free, since my husband can’t eat wheat.

The cliff-hanger with this recipe was, would the roux thicken, with gluten free flour?

Here’s all the ingredients, ready to roll:


Cooking the onions/peppers/celery, in 4 tablespoons (yowza) of bacon fat,  in the largest iron skillet I have:


I added the all-purpose gluten free flour, and slowly added the chicken broth, and it did thicken! Not quite as much as a regular flour roux, so I used more like 1 cup of the chicken broth rather than 1.5 cups, but it was thickening:


When it was nice and thick I stirred in the bacon, and potatoes, and since I didn’t have any heavy cream I used a bit of 2% milk instead. Seemed to work just fine!


I also made a quick soup, using the chicken broth I had left over, in the blender with kale and turnip greens I had previously harvested from my garden and blanched and frozen. I cooked up some chopped onions and garlic (both of which I had also grown in my garden), in butter, and added that to the blender too with a bit of salt and a bit of celery seed. Blended it for a good 5 minutes to break down the fibers of the kale. Then put it in a pot with about half a cup of milk, heated it gently, and it was really tasty.

So, here’s dinner, my husband and I enjoyed it very much, and we have some lovely leftovers for brunch tomorrow!


Below is the full recipe, from page  157 of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon by Ari Weinzweig:

This hash has turned out to be a hit with most everyone who’s had it. It’s an excellent way to take advantage of the big flavor of top-of-the-line bacons. The bacon is the headliner rather than just a couple of strips alongside another main dish. I like making it with the dry-cured intensity of the Broadbent’s, Benton’s, Father’s or Edwards’, but it really would work with any good bacon.

You can make the recipe a day or two in advance if you like, then reheat it in a skillet when you’re ready to serve. Regardless, you’ll want to cook both the bacon and potatoes and let them cool before you move on to the rest of the recipe. Serve with rye toast and a couple of poached eggs if you like, as well.


4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

10 ounces sliced bacon (about 5 to 7 slices), lightly cooked and chopped

2 pounds potatoes (I like Yukon Golds, German Butterballs or others of that ilk), steamed over salted water until tender, then diced with the skins on

1/4 cup heavy cream

Coarse sea salt to taste

Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste


Melt the bacon fat in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, covered, for 5 to 6 minutes, until soft.

Sprinkle the flour over the wilted vegetables and stir well to avoid lumps. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep from sticking, until the flour blends with the bacon fat into a thickened roux.

Add the broth, a bit at a time, stirring well after each addition so the mixture stays smooth and creamy. The sauce should coat the back of your spoon before you add more liquid. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.

Continue simmering the sauce over moderate heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the bacon and potatoes and mix well. Add the cream and cook, stirring, a few more minutes. Stir in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, or cool and reheat in a skillet until you get a nice golden brown crust.

Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

Kieron’s Grilled Plantain with Mustard and Bacon

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

My local grocery store had ripe plantains (dark brown skins), so it was time to try this recipe. I had two plantains. I didn’t have any English dried mustard, so I used what I had. Here’s the  plantains with the mustard paste on them:


The recipe said I’d only need 2 to 3 slices of bacon per plantain; maybe my plantains were a bit large, but I ended up using more like 5 slices per. I got the Arkansas peppered bacon – I’ve become a big fan of Balinisian long pepper these days!  I did try using the skewers to hold the bacon in place:


but I was too clumsy for it, or maybe I had too much bacon! But in the end I just wrapped them. (I thought about using toothpics later – next time.)


I did all the cooking under the broiler (didn’t set up the grill) so I turned the broiler temp down to 400 instead of 500 after the first 5 minutes, since the bacon was getting black on the edges. I broiled it for about 20 minutes total, and turned them a couple of times. The bacon did come a bit loose without the skewers or toothpics as it cooked, but still held together pretty well. When it was nicely sizzling and clearly done I pulled it out of the oven.


I cut them up into 1-inch chunks, and made sure each chunk had a nice bit of bacon with it, and brought it over to my cohousing community’s dinner in the common house as an appetizer. It was very well received! Very filling, due to the starchy plantains. A nice combination of textures, with the soft plantain and chewy bacon with the sharpness of the mustard to cut the starch.

Here’s the recipe, from page 170 of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon:

When Kieron Hales, sous chef at the Roadhouse, first told me about this recipe, I thought it sounded a bit crazy. But, lo and behold, it’s actually delicious. Kieron hails (sorry, couldn’t resist) from England, but he learned this dish while he was working in Maine, from a Jamaican-born chef. The recipe works either on the grill or under the broiler, and you can make it with either ripe plantains or bananas. The latter will of course be somewhat sweeter, but both versions are quite good.  Kieron recommends making it with a thickly sliced, very smoky bacon—consider Broadbent’s, Edwards’ or Benton’s. It’s also very good with the long pepper bacon from Arkansas—the tropical flavors of the plantains and bananas go well with the equatorial accent of the long pepper.
So yeah, it sounds strange, but tastes darned good!


2 tablespoons dried mustard (preferably Colman’s English)

1/4 cup water

4 large ripe plantains (their skins will be mottled or black) or bananas

4 teaspoons freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper

8 to 12 slices bacon (each plantain requires 2 to 3 slices)


Soak a handful of wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour or overnight. (I used 6-inch bamboo skewers, but toothpicks will work, as well.)

Mix the dried mustard and water together with a fork until it forms a paste. Let stand for 30 minutes so that the mustard’s flavor can “bloom.”

If using the grill, bring to medium-high heat. Alternatively, you can do the whole recipe, start to finish, under the broiler.

Rub each plantain with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the mustard paste and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon pepper. Wrap each plantain in bacon slices, overlapping by one-third the width of each slice as you go. Secure bacon to the plantain by inserting skewers crosswise and at angles as necessary.

Place the dressed plantains atop an oiled grill. If the plantains are very ripe, grill them for about 5 minutes, then turn and repeat on the other side for another 5 minutes. If the plantains are less ripe—with yellower skins—you’ll want to keep them on the grill longer (about 8 to 9 minutes per side).

Carefully remove the plantains to a baking sheet and place under the broiler for another 15 minutes, or until the bacon is crisped and the plantains are caramelized.

Take the pan from the broiler, carefully remove the skewers and cut the plantains into chunks. Serve hot, with some English mustard on the side for dipping.

Serves 4 as a side dish, or 10 to 12 as an appetizer

TLBBLT – The Laurel Blakemore Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

It’s a rainy October Saturday, and my husband is off on a weekend backpacking trip. Normally I would be too, but my dining room table was literally covered with Roma and Brandywine tomatoes that I picked in a hurry before a hard frost on Wednesday, and I was itching to make a batch of sauce and can it – it takes ages and I knew I would not have time to do it on a weeknight. So, I stayed home, and made my sauce. And all that to say, it’s also a great opportunity to make some rainy-day comfort food for lunch that needs really excellent Brandywine tomatoes – yep, a BLT. And not just any old BLT – the TLBBLT.

It’s a simple sandwich, but I’m a firm believer in the concept of simple but excellent ingredients giving extraordinary results, and this was outstanding.


Here’s my ingredients, except the Hellman’s mayo which I forgot to put into the photo: 4 slices of Arkansas peppered bacon, some aged Cabot farmhouse cheddar, a couple of slices of one of my homegrown Brandywine tomatoes, some organic romaine lettuce, and two slices of Zingerman’s Bakehouse’s farm bread.


I cooked up the bacon in my favorite iron skillet, and took it out to drain. I drained a bit of the fat out of the skillet, but left some in to cook the sandwich in. (I save the fat of course, and use it all the time for cooking. The fat from the peppered bacon always has a nice kick to it!) I assembled the sandwich per the recipe instructions. (You leave out the lettuce during the cooking.)


And put it in the pan in the remaining bacon fat and weighed it down with a bowl. (This was a bit tricky in that my bowl was large and kept tipping, but on the whole it seemed to work well.) Flipped it over when one side was golden brown, cooked it another few minutes til also golden brown.

Then I pried it apart and added in the lettuce, cut it carefully and at a slight angle (Laurel would be proud I think, though I’ve never met her), stepped back to admire it, and then devoured it immediately.


Was a perfect combo of textures and flavors – the crunchy bread and chewy bacon,  soft juicy tomatoes and melted cheese – oh my. If I weren’t so full I’d do it all over again.

Here’s the recipe, from page 208 of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon:

TLBBLT: The Laurel Blakemore Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich

Aside from being the only palindromic recipe name I know, this also makes a really good sandwich, which has long been very popular at the Deli. It’s named for Dr. Laurel Blakemore, horse fanatic, show jumper, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and a big lover of bacon. It calls for a good bit of mayonnaise—I think a good BLT needs that, but you can certainly cut back if you like. Either way, it’s easy to make and great to eat! The recipe is for a single sandwich but it’s not hard to do the math and make as many as you want.


2 to 4 slices Arkansas peppered bacon
2 slices crusty country bread (we use Zingerman’s Farm Bread)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 slices aged Vermont cheddar cheese
2 thick slices good tomato
Handful of good lettuce


Cook the bacon in a frying pan until done. Remove from pan and drain, but leave the pan on the heat.

Spread mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Put a slice of cheese on each slice, then add the bacon and tomato. Assemble the sandwich, give it a gentle press together with your palm and slide it into the hot pan. Weight it down with a bowl and fry until golden brown. Flip, brown the other side, and remove from pan. Add the lettuce, cut the sandwich on whatever angle your heart desires (remember, though, that Laurel is a surgeon and places great value on properly positioned knife cuts!), and eat it while it’s hot!