Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bacon Club - Fall 2008

It is time, once again for Bacon Club! -the quarterly pot-luck celebration of bacon. The summer session resulted in Bacon Pecan Pralines, which might be one of my finest achievements, ever. So feeling the pressure to come up with something equally as awesome and tasty, I thought I would start with a culinary staple, baked beans, and experiment with a salad or sort.

The host of Bacon Club! reminded me about the Time Life Books series "Foods of the World" and I started flipping through the American Cooking: New England edition.

The caption to the photo below notes that "Baked beans are traditionally served in New England for Saturday dinner or Sunday breakfast-or both. But Mrs. Walker wanted to serve them at an early spring picnic on the terrace of her home in western Massachusetts."

This is Mrs. Walker's recipe:

Mrs. Walker scores the salt pork and "The beans are baked uncovered for the last hour to crisp the pork-a delicacy that the head of the family traditionally reserves for himself."

I am not so sure about reserving the crisped salt pork for anyone... but it looked to amazing not to try!

I made a few modifications to Mrs. Walker's recipe, including the addition of maple syrup (my family's secret).

Baked Beans

1 lb. dried navy beans, washed & soaked overnight
1/2 lb. salt pork, scored
2 bay leaves
5 whole allspice berries
1 tbsp. yellow mustard seeds, cracked
1 tbsp. brown mustard seeds, cracked
6 whole cloves of garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp prepared mustard
2 pinches sea salt
cold water

1. Rinse beans
2. Combine all ingredients in a heavy, oven-safe pot, dutch oven or crock pot.
3. Add enough cold water to cover all ingredients by at least 1 inch
4. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer.
5. You can place it in a 300 degree oven for 10 hours, or cook on stove top over low heat for 8-10 hours, or cook in crock pot overnight.
*For crisped salt pork:
Push the salt pork to the surface of the beans & bake uncovered for the last hour of cooking.

I only had time to cook the beans for 8 hours. They were completely cooked through, but could have been a bit more tender. The salt pork was really amazing. Crisp on the exterior and the center just melted in my mouth.

EXPERIMENTAL DISH - Bacon Pomegranate Salad on Endive

I was thinking about the combination of pomegranate and bacon and how the tartness of the pomegranate might go nicely with the salty/smokiness of bacon. This salad was a combination of things in the kitchen and a collaborative effort with a bacon-loving buddy.

seeds of 1 ripe pomegranate
flesh of 1 mango, diced
2 apples, peeled & diced
2 shallots, minced
salt & white pepper to taste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp ground coriander
2-3 tsp prepared mustard
3/4 lb. crisped bacon, chopped
2 heads of endive

This went over even BETTER than the baked beans. Experiment in the kitchen!

1 comment:

  1. Attest to huge deliciousness of the bacon-pomegranate salad.