Naomi Louise
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8 Bacon Based Meals That Will Have You Weak at the Knees ...

If you are a vegetarian then I suggest you swiftly click away from this list of mouth-watering bacon based meals. I went veg for a year and to be honest, the only thing I missed was bacon. Like a lover reunited with her lost love, since switching back to meat, I have been in bacon heaven. Here are my top pick of bacon based meals that I am sure any true fan of bacon will appreciate…

1. Dates with Bacon

This is one of my favorite treats… ever. The title kind of says it all.

What you need:
10-15 strips of streaky bacon
10-15 pitted dates (the juicer the better)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbs of olive oil

What to do:
Wrap a piece of bacon (uncooked) around each date
Heat the olive oil in the pan and then add the garlic
Before the garlic turns color add the rolls of date and bacon to the pan with tongs (be careful for oil spitting out)
Cook for a few minutes on each side until you can see the bacon is cooked
Lay them onto a paper towel on a plate so all excess oil is removed
Then enjoy… and I mean really enjoy.

2. Bacon Explosion

On December 23rd, 2008, a blog called BBQ Addicts introduced ‘The Bacon Explosion’ to the world of bacon lovers. The post was an instant hit and received over 500,000 views within the first week of being online. The Bacon Explosion is not for the faint of heart, or those with any heart conditions at all, weighing in at over 5,000 calories worth of pure bacon goodness. Check out the Mother of all bacon based meals here. Their step-by-step tutorial, with photos, is better than how I could explain it.

3. Bacon and Maple Syrup Cupcakes

If you are anything like me this combination of heavenly deliciousness will just about send you over the edge.

What you need:
60g unsalted butter, softened
60g golden caster sugar
1 egg
65g self-raising flour
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon

For the icing:
50g softened butter
100g icing sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
A drop of milk

What to do:
1. Grill the bacon until crisp. Set one rasher aside for the topping and finely chop the remaining three rashers. Leave to cool.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and then the flour, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Stir in the chopped bacon.
3. Divide the mixture between six holes of a silicone muffin tray or use paper cases. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes, or until cooked through (check with a skewer or toothpick). Leave to cool completely.
4. For the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. Trickle in the maple syrup and add a drop of milk - a little at a time — to soften slightly. Pipe the icing on top of the cooled cakes. Finally, cut the grilled bacon rasher you set to one side in step 1 into 6 small shards and poke into the top of the iced cupcake.

4. Creamy Spinach Casserole

Whoever said you can’t have your greens and eat your bacon as well obviously hasn't heard of this tasty dish. Just as you are feeling all wholesome for getting your daily intake of healthy from the spinach… bam! A taste of sweet salty, bacon delight hits you and for a split second the Naughty Devil on your shoulder saying ‘mmm bacon’ and the Angel on the other side saying ‘mmm spinach’ sit harmoniously together in taste heaven.

What you need: 

1 cup(s) milk

1 cup(s) cream

2 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon(s) salt

5 slice(s) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 1/2 pound(s) fresh spinach leaves

3 tablespoon(s) butter

1 cup(s) onions, diced

2 clove(s) garlic, chopped

2 tablespoon(s) flour

1 cup(s) grated Gruyère cheese

2 tablespoon(s) lemon zest

1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper

 What to do:

 

5. Chestnut, Bacon and Cranberry Stuffing

Add a wee twist to your stuffing this year by surprising your guests with this delicious recipe, and do not be surprised if there isn't any leftovers for boxing day.

What you need: 

100g dried cranberries

50ml ruby port

1 small onion , chopped

2 rashers unsmoked back bacon , cut into strips

50g butter

2 garlic cloves , chopped

450g sausagemeat

140g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

140g peeled, cooked chestnuts , roughly chopped

1 medium egg , lightly beaten

What to do: 

1. Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour. Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.

2. Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind - I find it easiest to use my hands. 3. Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

4. To Cook: This stuffing can be baked in a dish, or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside. To bake, press the stuffing into a greased ovenproof dish in a layer that is around 4cm thick. Bake at 190C/gas 5/fan 170C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausagemeat stuffing, cooked right through. Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside.

 

6. Sticky Apple, Sausage and Bacon

This tasty dish is the ultimate comfort food and works well if you are having guests over. I like to serve it with some creamy mash and roasted carrots.

What you need:

8 rashers smoked streaky bacon

8 quality pork sausages

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 red-skinned apples , each cut into 8 wedges

What to do:

1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tie a piece of bacon around each sausage. Heat the oil in a flameproof roasting tin on the hob, then brown the sausages in the tin. Place in the oven and roast for 20 mins.

2. Toss in the apple wedges and roast everything for another 10 mins until the sausages are cooked and the apples are sticky and caramelised. Serve with mash.

7. Roasted White Fish Wrapped in Smoked Bacon with Lemon Mayonnaise and Asparagus

This is one of the bacon based meals that is not over indulgent but still satisfies your bacon cravings. Plus, being a recipe of Jamie Oliver's, you just know it is going to be a winner.

What you need:

4 x 150 g white fish fillets, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, cut 2.5cm thick, skinned and pinboned

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and very finely chopped

zest and juice of lemons

freshly ground black pepper

12 rashers higher-welfare thinly sliced, smoked streaky bacon or pancetta

olive oil

4 tablespoons low-fat free-range mayonnaise

2 large bunches of asparagus, trimmed

What to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Season your beautiful fish fillets with the rosemary, finely grated lemon zest (no bitter white pith, please) and pepper – you don't need to use salt because we're going to wrap the fish in the lovely salty smoked bacon. Lay your rashers of bacon or pancetta on a board and one by one run the flat of a knife along them to thin them and widen them out. Lay 3 rashers together, slightly overlapping, put a fish fillet on top and wrap the rashers around it.

2. Lightly heat a large ovenproof frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and lay your fish, prettiest side facing up, in the pan. Fry for a minute, then place the pan in your preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the bacon is crisp and golden.

3. While the fish is cooking, you can make your simple lemon mayonnaise. I do this by mixing quality low-fat mayonnaise with the juice of half a lemon and pepper. You want to add enough lemon juice to make the flavour slightly too zingy. This is because, when you eat it with the asparagus and the fish, it will lessen slightly in intensity. And don't worry if the mayo looks a little thinner than usual when you've added the lemon juice – think of it as more delicate.

4. The asparagus is a great accompaniment because, like the fish, it also loves bacon. You can either boil or steam it; either way it's light and a nice contrast to the meatiness of the fish. When cooked, toss it in the juices that come out of the fish. Simply serve the fish next to a nice pile of asparagus, drizzled with the lemon-spiked mayonnaise. And if you're feeling very hungry, serve with some steaming-hot new potatoes.

8. Chicken, Mushroom and Bacon Pie

Pie- who doesn't love a bit of pie from time to time? especially when it contains bacon. The thing I love most about this pie is that it is even better the next day, served with some roasted sweet potato chips. Here you go...

What you need:

3 rasher(s) streaky bacon (cut or scissored into 2.5cm strips)

1 teaspoon(s) garlic infused olive oil

125 gram(s) chestnut mushroom(s) (sliced into 5mm pieces)

250 gram(s) chicken thighs (fillets cut into 2.5cm pieces)

25 gram(s) plain flour

½ teaspoon(s) dried thyme

15 ml butter

300 ml chicken stock (hot)

15 ml marsala

375 gram(s) puff pastry (all butter - ready rolled)

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the bacon.

2. Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the bacon-and-mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the bacon and mushrooms until the chicken begins to colour.

3. Pour in the hot stock and Marsala, stirring to form a sauce, and let this bubble away for about 5 minutes.

4. Take two 300ml pie-pots (if yours are deeper, don't worry, there will simply be more space between contents and puff pastry top) and make a pastry rim for each one - by this I mean an approx. 1cm strip curled around the top of each pot. Dampen the edges with a little water to make the pastry stick.

5. Cut a circle bigger than the top of each pie-pot for the lid, and then divide the chicken filling between the two pots.

6. Dampen the rim of the pastry again and then pop on the lid of each pie, sealing the edges with your fingers or the underneath of the prongs of a fork.

7. Cook the pies for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.

Some of these bacon based meals are best reserved as a special treat every now and then as they are not the healthiest of dishes, whereas others are easier on the waistline (and arteries) and so can be enjoyed more often. Are you a bacon lover also? What’s the tastiest bacon based dish that you have ever enjoyed?

Sources: uk.lifestyle.yahoo.comdelish.combbcgoodfood.combbcgoodfood.comjamieoliver.com, and nigella.com

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