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Finally! Provisions' Lamb Bacon

_MG_0878

After many failed attempts, I finally got my hands on this slab of lamb bacon from Provisions. Even better, they are now curing more on a regular basis so getting another batch won't take nearly so long.

First observation: As you can see here, it's very fatty. There's more meat in there that the sliver visible in this picture, but the fat is prominent.

My first experiment was to cut strips and wrap them in dates. I love bacon wrapped dates and I figured the combination of North African/Middle Eastern ingredients would go together well.

This wasn't as successful as I'd have liked. As my first try cooking the bacon, I realized afterward that I had no idea how crispy the bacon cooked on its own. When I cooked it more lightly, it was a little too gummy and was difficult to cut through with your teeth. When I left it to cook longer, it crisped up too much and had a burnt, gamy flavor that wasn't so great.

There is probably a perfect medium in there somewhere, but I didn't want to waste my entire slab trying this out, so I shelved that idea.


My second, more successful idea after the jump...

_MG_3634 - Version 2

Sticking with the regional foods, I used it with Israeli couscous.

First, I started the couscous by pouring it into a pot of boiling water.

While that cooked, I diced the rest of the slab and sauteed it until the smaller bits were crisp and the bigger were just the right degree of firm and chewy.

Then I removed the bacon, leaving the rendered fat, and sauteed a diced onion until it was caramelized.

While the couscous finished up, I cut up the leftover dates and combined them in the skillet with the onions, bacon and the finished couscous.

At this point, I fired up the skillet to heat all the ingredients while mixing it all together.

The end result was wonderful. The bacon's flavor is a battle between the cure's saltiness and the lamb's sweet gaminess. The dates and the onions tilted the balance towards a complex sweetness, but regularly by the salt.

I love Israeli couscous for its soft, but firm texture, that was boosted by the contrast of the bacon with brittle bits here and meaty chunks there. On top of that, the softened onions added a light crunch in each bite.

I definitely want to spend some time exploring the possibilities available with this new ingredient, but it'll be difficult for me to avoid making this particular one over and over again.



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