Tag Archives: bacon baked beans

Pork Out: Pork Roast, Baked Beans, Balsamic Glazed Potatoes, Smothered in Bacon

4 Apr

Penny has her doubts about the baconalia.

Stephen and I launched a total baconalia this weekend. I bought two pounds of delicious organic apple-wood smoked pig bellies and decided to smother everything I put in my mouth in the stuff — within reason.

I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to pig products. Bacon cupcakes a la Robicelli’s, bacon dresses a la Lady Gaga, bacon gumballs, et al will never be part of my oeuvre, though I recognize and appreciate the undistilled chutzpah, imagination and socio-cultural zeitgeisty daring do each of those products represents.

No, I like my bacon with eggs or on the walls of the Metropolitan Museum.

Bacon represents the apotheosis of human achievement: fire, the domestication and humane rearing of animals (happy pigs taste better and I try to buy bacon at farmer’s markets and so should you — get to know your farmers, support local agriculture, do your duty as a member of liberal and civilized society, Alice Waters is the best, at the very least shill out an extra few bucks for organic, humanely raised stuff at Whole Foods, yada, yada, you know the drill), the miracle of curing and preserving meat for long winters, the recognition of the rights of women (seriously! In the twelfth century the phrase “bring home the bacon” was coined after churches in England promised members of their flock an entire side of bacon if they swore that they hadn’t abused or quarreled with their wife for a year and a day; men who “brought home the bacon” were justly praised, fussed over and ballyhooed), the invention of the frying pan and good old-fashioned deliciousness.

And yet, it’s so simple by itself. Why clog it up with buttercream? (Full disclosure: I did once make bacon peanut butter pie. It was delicious and fun and gross and debauched at the same time. Like doing three shots of whiskey in a row on an empty stomach, it’s just bad form and you’ll wake up feeling bad about yourself). A carefully sauteed little rasher tucked into egg sandwich transforms your breakfast experience into a happy land of tweeting cartoon bluebirds, where rendered, oinky fat that tastes like a salty-sweet acorn-scented bit o’ chaw tarts up a bland case of the carb and protein fuel Mondays. Where I’d normally plod, just a lashing of bacon makes me skip, twiddle, grin and gallop toward my day.

I come by my bacon obsession naturally; my dad is a notorious bacon fiend. When I was a kid, my mom would get up at the butt-crack of dawn and start frying up pounds of the stuff before we’d head off for a day of skiing in the winter. She would hastily pile it in the middle of a platter, throw it on the kitchen table and beat a retreat as my father and I descended on it, forks gleaming, eyes flashing and severe and wild remonstrations at the ready should one of us feel we hadn’t gotten our share.

These days, Dad and I swap bacon recipes with the same aura of suppressed hysteria and sacrosanct secrecy that problem gamblers employ when trading tips on horses. I trust his advice implicitly. Below, check out my dad’s recipe (well, really Giada’s recipe) for Bacon-Laced Pork Roast, plus my favorites for Baked Beans and Balsamic Glazed Potatoes. Oh, and Bacon Chutney-Sauce.

Penny doesn't know what she's missing

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