Piggy back on great bacon ideas with Chef Jamie Gwen, author of "Good Food for Good Times to the Second Power." Jamie shared her knowledge about cooking bacon with Mario on "Living Today." A personal friend of Emeril Lagasse, Jamie has had the opportunity to learn from some of the best names in the culinary world and shared her bacon tips with our listeners. Jamie also explained the differences between the various styles of bacon including American, Canadian, Pancetta and Salt Pork
According to Jamie:
American bacon, also called side bacon is the bacon most commonly sold sliced and packaged in the supermarket. Bacon is the cured and smoked meat and fat from the belly of the pig. Side bacon (without the rind) also comes precooked and canned.
Canadian Bacon (called back bacon in Canada) is the cured, smoked, cooked eye of pork loin. It resembles ham more closely than bacon and is much less fatty than American bacon. Canadian bacon comes either in individual slices, or in a cylinder-shaped chunk.
Pancetta is Italian bacon, made from pork that is cured but not smoked. It has a subtler flavor than American sliced bacon and makes a tasty accent in green salads.
Salt pork is salt-cured but not smoked meat from the belly of a pig. It’s a favorite component in Southern cooking, especially with beans and collard greens.
Chef Jamie's Bacon Tips:
- To cook sliced bacon, lay slices in a cold skillet then turn the heat to medium low. As the bacon begins to shrink and brown, turn it over, making sure the slices lie flat. When the bacon is crisp and brown, remove and drain on paper towels.
- To microwave sliced bacon, using a microwave-safe plate, arrange the slices of bacon on paper towels, alternate layers of bacon and paper towels, and cook on high 45 to 60 seconds per slice or 15 minutes per pound.
- American bacon shrinks considerably when cooked, as the heat releases much of its high fat content. When purchasing, be aware that a pound of bacon will shrink to about 4 ounces.
- Store bacon in the refrigerator. Vacuum-packed bacon, once opened, will keep in the refrigerator for one week. If tightly wrapped, slab bacon keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator. Slabs of Canadian bacon keep for up to a week, but slices must be used within three to four days.
- Bacon will keep in the freezer for up to two months
After the jump get Chef Jamie's recipes for Bacon Caramel Sauce and more!
GET JAMIE'S BACON RECIPES
Bacon Caramel Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Smooth and creamy, salty and sweet…How could bacon and caramel combined not be delicious? Making your own caramel sauce from scratch is a lot easier than you might think, and it takes practically no time at all. When making liquid caramel, here are a couple of chef’s tips: Make absolutely certain that the pan you are using is clean and that there aren't any impurities in the sugar/water solution. And, be sure to cook the sugar until it’s a very dark amber color, so that when you add the cream, you get a deliciously rich caramel…practice makes perfect.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped
1. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium-sized saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook undisturbed (do not stir!) until the sugar begins to turn golden, swirling the pan carefully to allow the sugar to color evenly. Continue cooking until the sauce becomes a rich amber color with a dark nutty almost burnt smell.
2. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the cream; it will bubble up. Return the sauce to the heat and bring back to a boil. Add the butter, vanilla and the chopped bacon and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes more.
3. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about one week. Reheat before serving.
Bacon-Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy
On Sunday mornings, I am always sure to keep the bacon grease from
our morning breakfast to use for Sunday dinner! I was inspired by a James
Beard recipe, and now we use bacon grease for everything from French
fries, to onion rings and this luscious fried chicken. Everything just tastes
better kissed by bacon.
One 3 pound fryer chicken, cut into pieces
6 shakes Tabasco
8 strips bacon
1 cup all-purpose flour + 3 tablespoons, for the gravy
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
1 1/2 cups light cream
2 tablespoons Brandy
1. If you have time, brine the chicken pieces in 8 cups cold water seasoned with
1/4 cup Kosher salt and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Drain the chicken from the brine and rinse out the bowl. Return the chicken to the bowl and pour the buttermilk over the chicken pieces. Season the buttermilk with 2 tablespoons
of Tabasco and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Lay strips of bacon in a large cast-iron or heavy skillet and cook on the stovetop over medium heat, turning often, until crisp, about 15 minutes. Place the flour in a large bowl and season with it with the
salt and paprika. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off excess,
and set aside.
3. Transfer the bacon to paper towels. Pour the bacon grease from the skillet into
a heatproof bowl and wipe out any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and pour the remaining bacon grease back into the skillet, adding enough vegetable oil to come 1/4-inch up the sides of the pan. Heat the grease over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning occasionally, until well browned all over, about 25 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a heatproof platter and keep warm in the oven.
4. Pour the fat from the skillet, wipe it clean and then pour the 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon grease into to the skillet. Over medium heat, whisk in the 3 tablespoons of flour and cook for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the cream and cook until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the Brandy to the gravy and season to taste with salt.
Bacon Cheddar Chipotle Cornbread
Studded with bits of bacon and melting cheddar cheese this smoky, spicy,
salty, cheesy mix will have you and your guests surrendering to the ultimate cornbread. Serve it alongside a quintessential Southern meal of fried chicken and greens or with smoky baby back ribs. Try toasting slices of this cornbread on the BBQ for breakfast, drizzles with honey. My favorite is a CBLT; Cornbread, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich!
8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of Chipotles in Adobo
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Cook the bacon in an 8-inch skillet or sauté pan
until crisp. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and reserve it. Leave
2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan and, using a paper towel, rub some
of the bacon fat up the sides of the pan to grease it.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder,
baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, whole milk, eggs and adobo sauce. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients
and add the liquid mixture. Stir just until combined. Gently fold the cheddar cheese and crisp bacon into the cornbread batter.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
4. Serve warm.