Sunday 3 May 2009

Curing Bacon

One of the nice things about France is that you can buy good substantial pieces of pork belly in the supermarket. And one of the nice things about pork belly is that you can cure it and make bacon!

As Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says, curing bacon is so ridiculously simple, it's a wonder more people don't do it. We've been curing our own bacon for a while now. Usually Simon does it, and it is a matter of no more than rubbing salt into the meat every day for a few days.

This time I decided to get a bit more fancy, and made up a rubbing mixture of salt, chopped bay leaves, crushed juniper berries, soft brown sugar and Ducros 5 Baies pepper. The meat was rubbed all over with a few handfuls of the salt mix every day for 10 days, then rinsed, wiped dried and cut into portions for different uses.

On the left are cubes for adding to home made baked beans. In the middle, rashers of bacon, and on the right, thick slices for petit salé aux lentilles.

If you are in France and missing pork crackling, an alternative treatment for a piece of belly is to roast it. It makes superb crackling because of all the fat under the skin, and the meat will be rich, but juicy.



Prue Barrett said...

I just found your site and I love it! I'm also from Queensland, Brisbane and have spent a lot of time in France and envy your lifestyle having just moved to Harlem, New York. At least now I get to live in France vicariously! And great idea on the bacon. Best of luck, Prue.

Susan said...

Hi Prue and welcome. Just had a look at your site and found it most interesting. I must remember to go back to it when we have a bit more time. We've been to Harlem (briefly, and touristically). I fell asleep at the Cotton Club I was so jetlagged, and I think we got the rather disappointing tourist menu at Sugars.

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