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In this world, there are three kinds of bacon. Prosciutto, pancetta, and Oscar Meyer. I lied. I knew it the minute I typed it. There’s Canadian Bacon, turkey bacon, slab bacon, real bacon, fake bacon bits, quite possibly literally hundreds of styles of bacon.

People, there are Baconfests that abound in these here United States. A quick Yahoo search revealed Baconfests in Milwaukee (Surprise surprise), Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Little Rock, Des Moines, Monterey, and even Belling freaking ham Washington. And I stopped at page two of the search. America LOVES bacon.

There’s great soliloquy by George Burns in the movie Grumpy Old Men about long life and bacon consumption that I share with you. It’s only 45 seconds I urge you to watch it:

So it is not without surprise that I was allured to a recent recipe I found from British chef, Jamie Oliver that involved pancetta. For a fleeting second, I thought pancetta was an exotic island fruit. It’s not. It’s bacon and it gives a pizazz to the recipe. The ingredients looked healthy enough so I modified it a bit and gave it a whirl.

When I started cooking, my wife chuckled because I was actually following a recipe. Usually, I modify a couple recipes and throw stuff in that I got in the house. Actually, I wasn’t trying to follow the recipe so much as I was trying to figure out what a tin of tomatoes and a rasher of welfare pancetta involved since Jamie is a British chef.

Here’s what I came up with and by all reviews in this household, it was delicious.

Olive oil
2 onions
1 leek
4 garlic cloves
1/3 pound Pancetta
Sprigs of fresh Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
4 bay leaves
1 butternut squash
3 sweet potatoes
1 yellow pepper
8 Oz package portabella mushrooms
3 15.9 oz cans tomatoes (2 diced, 1 whole cut up)
1 6 oz can of Italian seasoned tomato paste
1 can jumbo black olives slices in halves
8 boneless Chicken thighs, trimmed and sliced into 2 inch strips
3/4 cup Pinot Noir

Preheat over the 350 degrees.

You’ll need an over proof pan like the one in the cover photo.

Uncork the wine and have a glass to make sure it’s OK.

Peel the onion and cut into eighths. Peel the leek and garlic, chop and simmer all in the olive oil. Finely slice the pancetta and add to the mix with the rosemary, bay leaves and Italian seasoning. Simmer while stirring until the bacon, uh pancetta starts to brown.

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and squash. (I found cutting the squash in half, removing the seeds and using a paring knife to remove the outer shell worked for me). Chop both into one inch cubes.

Slice the mushrooms into thirds so they are thick slices. Slice the yellow pepper into strips as well. Add to the simmering mixture, stir it around for a bit so the pancetta mixes with the veges and spices.

It will look like this:

Layer the chicken thighs on top of that. Pour the wine over the thighs and simmer maybe 5 minutes or so. If you must, refill your own glass with more of the Pinot Noir and chop the black olives in half.

Pour the 3 cans of tomatoes over the top of the thighs and veges, stir them around a bit. Mix in the black olives then place the pan in the oven.

IMG_0905 It’s now ready for the oven.

Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or so. Remove from oven, check to make sure the potatoes and squash are cooked but not mushy and stir in the tomato paste then cook another 15 minutes.

Your dinner is ready. I’m not a fan of “enjoy” or “bon appetite” so just dig in.

You don’t really need to serve it over anything since there’s potatoes and squash in there, but a few slices of whole grain bakery bread makes a good accompaniment. I served it in a big soup bowl looking thing.

Wordpress tells me the TopTtwo most visited posts for Wedwand in 2015 also involved food. Here they are in case you missed them.