My youngest son Noah loves bacon. He can't get enough of it. If you ask him what his favorite food is he will get really excited and tell you, well, as excited as a " tweenager" can get. Bacon, and "stuff with bacon in it," as Noah likes to say, creates a shark-like feeding frenzy at my house. With seven people under my roof, you better have your plate and be in line while it's cooking or you won't get any. Trust me; I've been at the back of line more than once.
But I am here to tell you that not all bacon is the same. Let me explain. I know that you all have traveled before. There is one particular hotel chain that I stay at a lot. Even if you guess, I won't tell you. It's classified. Sorry. But at this particular hotel chain they serve this bacon on their buffet that is so thin you can actually see through it. The taste reminds me of a pig that rubbed up against an old leather shoe.
Now on the other end of the spectrum is the Wright's brand thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon. I know most people like their bacon crisp, but I'm old-school. I like mine still fatty. This stuff is awesome. If you've never tried thick-cut bacon, try this one. It just melts in your mouth.
There are many ways to cook bacon. I remember my grandmother always cooking it in a cast iron skillet on the stove, but when I became a chef, things changed. I learned to cook bacon on a baking tray in the oven. The result is the same. The only difference is that you don't have grease burns while it pops out at you and there is almost no mess to clean up.
There is also another application for bacon that has the culinary world as excited as my son Noah, and that is desserts. Oh yeah, trust me now and believe me later. The rage has to do with the saltiness that bacon brings to the table in contrast to the sweetness of the dish. It is amazing! I have created a recipe just for this occasion. Everybody likes s'mores, but how much better would it be with bacon!
CANDIED BACON S'MORE PIE
2 lb. Kroger Aberdeen Bacon (2 for $5 this week)
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 c. crushed Graham crackers
½ c. sugar
1 stick butter, melted
½ tsp. cinnamon
6 oz. by volume bittersweet chocolate chips
6 oz heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 jar marshmallow fluff
8 Graham crackers, rough chopped for garnish
caramel as needed for garnish
1. Place the bacon in a large bowl and coat the bacon in the pepper.
2. Add the brown sugar to coat.
3. Place the bacon close together on a baking tray and sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar.
4. Place in a 325° oven and cook until it's golden brown and fairly crisp. It may take 15-25 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and let the bacon cool.
6. Once cooled, chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
7. In another bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, cinnamon, and sugar with the butter to bind it.
8. Place the mixture in a casserole dish and bake on 375° for about 5-7 minutes. This is the crust.
9. Remove from the oven and cool.
10. Once the crust has cooled to room temperature, microwave the opened marshmallow fluff jar for 30 seconds to make it easier to work with.
11. Smooth the fluff onto the crust.
12. Sprinkle the candied bacon over the fluff and then refrigerate until the fluff sets up.
13. In the meantime, use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.
14. After it's melted, remove it from the heat and add the cream and vanilla extract until smooth.
15. Pour the chocolate over the bacon and garnish with the rough chopped graham crackers and caramel.
The first time I made this recipe myself and two co-workers stood over the sink and licked my Pyrex dish clean with our fingers. This one ranks up there as one of the craziest out-of-the-box desserts, but it ranks way up there with flavor. See you next week.
Kroger has Aberdeen bacon on sale this week 2 for $5. We also have some great deals on produce that you have to check out.
For more about Chef Steve, go to www.cookinwithkroger.com.
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