Results tagged “bacon”

Cider-braised pork with pickled leeks and horseradish


Pork shoulder is suited to slow cooking and will be melt-in-the-mouth tender given time.  The cider braising liquid, lightly pickled leeks and punchy horseradish make this a surprisingly clean and bright dish.  Serve with potatoes or pearled rye or spelt.  

Braised pork.JPGRecipe adapted from Mia Kristensen of CPH Good Food.

Fabada Asturiana

This hearty stew hails from Asturias, in northern Spain, where they grow the best white beans.  The beans are dried and then used in this dish year-round. It really is the beans that make the dish - they are large, white and uniquely creamy and should be the most expensive ingredient in your stew since true fabas Asturianas sell for a small fortune.  This dish does not take much effort, but do give it time - five or so hours if possible.  There is probably nothing better on a dark, chilly evening than a steaming bowl of smoky fabada accompanied by a glass of deep red Rioja.


Boeuf bourguignon

I firmly believe that old classics are old classics for a reason - they’re utterly delicious - and therefore should not be overlooked on the assumption they’re either too boring or too fussy and antiquated.  Boeuf bourguignon is the perfect example; you just can’t beat slow cooked beef with the simple additional flavours of red wine, bacon, onions and mushrooms.  For maximum flavour, make this a day in advance.

Smboeufbourguignon0001.JPGWhile staying in Paris at the start of our culinary travels in 2008, I took a class with chef Eric Fraudeau.  On my request, and despite having made them all many times before, we cooked boeuf bourguignon, gratin dauphinois and tarte Tatin.  It’s always fascinating to see how different people approach the classic dishes; there’s always more than one way.  Sometimes they turn out equally delicious but for different reasons; other times you come to realise there’s a reason behind the original recipe.  (That’s assuming you can put your finger on an ‘original’ recipe; such dishes are usually highly contested.)  Boeuf bourguignon is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, but if you’re up for a really rich meal, the gratin dauphinois works a treat.

Eric’s bourguignon was pretty standard, with all the usual suspects for ingredients.  I have only made some slight alterations for the recipe here.  Eric recommends beef cheek - it will cook down to the most unctuous, tender and tasty mouthfuls you can imagine.  However, I was disappointed to find that I cannot get beef cheeks where I live.  In Paris it was easy - Eric took us to a series of wonderful butchers selling all kinds of things, including horse.  In England, my local butcher tells me, EU laws are applied more strictly and due to the additional regulations surrounding carcass heads (think BSE and the rest ...) there are more steps and inspections in the process.  The result is that what should be one of the cheapest cuts becomes too expensive for most butchers to bother with.  

In place of cheek, my butcher recommends chuck steak, which is from the shoulder.  If not that, then any good stewing cut - such as rump, round or shin - would do.  For the wine, the only book I have that actually recommends using a Burgundy is the little ‘recettes bourguignonnes’ cookbook I found in Beaune.  Everyone else recommends something fuller bodied, such as a Côtes du Rhône.  Finally, I can’t tell you what a difference good bacon makes.  Try to avoid those packets of pre-cut ‘lardons’ in supermarkets; they’re full of water and taste of little.  Instead, see if your local butcher sells bacon bits leftover from his own slicing.

Acorn to bacon

Smdehesaacorns0001.jpgWe knew the jamón in Spain can be fantastic, and we wanted to make sure we got to try the best.  So after asking around we found ourselves in Jabugo, surrounded by miles of 'dehesa' countryside and little white-washed villages on hilltops, with the sweet, sweet smell of curing jamón wafting through the air everywhere we went...


Culinary Anthropologist