Another Trip To The Butcher of Copiague 

There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh cut bacon

A pound of fresh, sliced to order bacon at the Polish butcher is around six fifty a pound… you can’t turn down an offer like that. I prefer mine thick cut snd not crispy. I like bacon you can take a knife to!

This morning I prepared it with a simple asiago cheese omlette and whole wheat toast. And I love a like swiss preserves on the toast… Favorite is my favorite. .. funny how that happens.

Pork Shoulder Kapusniak

The snow keeps piling up outside and there’s nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup. Traditional comfort food for warming you up after a day of shoveling. Well, this soup is a modification of my friend’s grandmother’s Polish Kapusniak. It’s a hearty soup traditionally made with pork spare ribs and sauerkraut. I make mine with less expensive chunks of pork shoulder and non pickled sauerkraut (as known as cabbage). I like to get the pork shoulder chunks with a good percentage of fat to meat, but if the pork you get is a bit on the lean side, you can add a few rashers of bacon. So…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage shredded
  • 3 large carrots cut in chunks
  • 2 rings of celery cut in chunks
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 large Long Island potatoes
  • 8 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 quarts of water

In a large dutch oven braise the pork over a medium heat. Once a good deal of fat has been rendered, deglaze with a little water. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for a few minutes. Add the cabbage and the potatoes. Start pouring in the water and turning down the heat to low. Add the tomato paste, paprika, salt and pepper.

Let the soup cook on the low heat for two hours. This gives all the ingredients time to meld, and starches from the potatoes ill help to thicken the soup. Ladle this into nice big bowls, and serve with fresh pumpernickel bread. Then watch the snow outside.


Spring Potato Salad

For this potato salad I like to use the new potatoes. These are the small potatoes with the thin skin. I use them for salads because they have a high moister to starch content. These low starch potatoes work well with a quick boil because you don’t have a lot of starch to break down. This also means that you need to keep an eye on them as they do boil quickly.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds small potatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool.

While doing that, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and place in a bowl of cold water to cool.

And while doing that, cook bacon slices until crisp.

Peel the eggs, and place 3 of them into a large bowl. Reserve the rest for later. Mash the eggs in the bowl with a fork. Stir in the mustard, mayonnaise, celery, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Crumble 2 of the bacon slices into the mayonnaise mixture. Reserve the rest for garnish.

Peel and chop the potatoes, and stir into the bowl until evenly coated. Slice the 2 remaining eggs, and place on top of the salad. Crumble the remaining bacon over the eggs.


Stuffed Whiting wrapped in Bacon

Wrapping fish fillets in bacon is a great way to combine two wonderful flavors into a unified dish. This recipe uses a simple breadcrumb stuffing. You can pack even more flavor into this dish by making changes to the stuffing, like adding diced celery, or minced jalapeño pepper.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 fillets of whiting (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 rashers thick cut bacon
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, sauté the onion till tender. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper. This makes up our stuffing. Distribute the stuffing onto the fillets. Roll the fillets and wrap them with a rasher of bacon. You can secure these with a toothpick. Place these in a lightly buttered baking dish, cover it with foil and pop into the oven for about ten minutes. Remover the foil and let these cook uncovered for another five minutes or so. Serve them up with a bottle of Duck Walk white wine.


White Bean and Smoked Pork Soup

As I’ve mentioned, Meat Farms is selling slab bacon now, and there are some recipes, especially soups, that really do benefit from bacon in chuck or diced cuts. Its why I prefer the thick cut bacon to regular sliced bacon. Bacon regularly sliced becomes non existent when added to soups, it just renders down to nothing.  Recipes often call for larger piece of smoked pork, like hocks, or butts, to add meat to these recipes. But, now, there is an option… really meaty bacon! So, without further ado… here’s an upgrade to our White Bean soup.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound slab bacon diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 large onions sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 cups of cooked white kidney beans, or great northern beans
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups of water
  • salt and pepper and a dash of hot sauce to taste

Melt the butter in a kettle and saute the bacon until ti just starts to crisp. Add the onions and sweat them for five minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and slowly cook over a low heat for about half and hour. Serve with buttered chunks of fresh bread.


Hmm Hmm Skillet Potatoes

I was out east last Wednesday to take my Mom out to the grocery. She has a Meat Farms market out by her and while we where there I picked up a pound of slab bacon. I don’t often get slab bacon, and since the market had a couple of packages of white and portobello mushrooms on their sale rack, an alarm went off in my head. It should come as no surprise to my more faithful readers that my alarm sounds an awful lot like a dinner bell! Since they always have great prices on potatoes and onions at Meat farms, my next course of action seemed pretty clear. Oh, and I grabbed a couple of jalapenos and the rest is outlined below:

Here’s what you’ll need (f you skipped the narrative above):

  • 1 cup of slab bacon diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 medium portobello mushrooms diced
  • 2 large white mushrooms diced
  • 3 medium long island potatoes diced
  • 2 jalapenos minced
  • paprika, salt, pepper

In a nice seasoned cast iron skillet, start browning up the bacon. Then toss in the onion and jalapeno. Then toss in the mushrooms. As this gets cooking, toss in the diced potatoes. Sprinkle this with paprika for coloring, then fold the potatoes into the mixture. As its cooking up season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Once the potatoes are cooked through and soft, the dish is ready to serve. If you don’t like the heat of the jalapeno, you could substitute a small green bell pepper.

A Summer Classic… with Bacon!

Bacon and scallops straight from the sea, the scallops that is, the bacon comes straight from Western Beef (the thick cut bacon is the one I use). These are best tossed on an outdoor grill, but you can broil them indoors.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs bacon
  • 2 lbs sea scallops (if very large, cut in half)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth

Cut bacon strips in half and wrap a piece of bacon around each scallop; secure with toothpick. Then if you are cooking indoors: Arrange the wrapped scallops on a baking sheet and broil about 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes per side, or until bacon is crisp. If your cooking outdoors, I use a perforated cooking sheet over the grill on top of hot coals.

Make the sauce:  In small skillet, melt butter; add garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook this for about 2 minutes to reduce.  Place scallops in large bowl; pour broth over, gently toss to coat. Now, if there were a bed of linguini in that bowl, well, it couldn’t hurt.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Navy Bean Soup w/ Bacon and Leeks

Well, I enjoy onions in my navy bean soup, but a couple of my friends don’t like onions at all. So, since I’m making this soup for all of us to enjoy. So, at these times I usually substitute scallions for onions, but this week there was a sale on leeks at Cross Island Fruits and Vegetables. So… compromises being compromises…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag of navy beans
  • 4 rashers of thick cut bacon diced
  • 3 ribs of celery diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 large leeks
  • salt

Soak the beans overnight in slightly salted water.

The following day, drain the beans. In a large stock pot brown the bacon. Once well browned, deglaze the pot with water. Now add the beans and cover with water, sprinkling a bit of salt. Bring the beans to a boil and cook an hour or so. Then add the diced vegetables and cook another half hour till tender.

Now, here’s where te previous posts about biscuits comes in. Take a biscuit, day old preferred, and put it in a bowl, then ladle the soup over the biscuit. Yum-o to steal a phrase.

Braised Red Cabbage w Bacon

This side goes well with the crock-pot pulled pork. A nice head of red cabbage and good thick cut bacon are the real stars of this dish. As always, I highly recommend the thick cut bacon from Western Beef (now where’s my check for product placement!). This is also one of the sides that’s great a room temperature, even if that room is outside. The weather is fantastic way are you not picnicking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium red cabbage shredded
  • 6 rashers of bacon chopped
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp caraway or rye seeds

In your cast iron pot, brown the bacon  then saute the onion. Te crispiness of the bacon is up to you, i tend to prefer mine non-crispy more chewy. Add the cabbage and the caraway, or rye, seeds and season with a little salt and pepper ‘to taste’.

Toss this until the cabbage wilts down, about four minutes or so. Then add the water and wine, cover and turn the heat to low. Let this simmer about 15 minutes.

Add the vinegar, cover and cook until the cabbage is tender. As this is a personal test for done-ness, I prefer firmer, crunchier cabbage so I only cook this for an additional five minutes or so.

Extract the cabbage with a slotted spoon and pack it for your picnic.


Canned Salmon Cakes Twist!

OK.. let’s review the recipe – and add a comment about the sodium content of bread crumbs!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Can of salmon
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • bacon!

Grab your grater and grate those potatoes, watch the knuckles. Toss this into a large bowl. Then add the salmon, celery, onion, and egg. Mix this together well. Add in the bread crumbs, fresh if you can get them from the bakery, canned from the store if you can’.

Now, a quick health note about canned bread crumbs. Get the Panko style crumbs, the Japanese one… I’ve checked all the sodium contents for the other types of crumbs including the plain old crumbs and the sodium is well over 20 mg. That’s not acceptable. We want bread crumbs, not salt-bread crumbs. The Panko crumbs have sodium counts under 50mg. Much better for my heart.

So, now that you have the mixture ready, here’s the twist – use a scoop to form balls from the mixture, not patties. But wait! there’s more! take a strip of thin cut bacon and wrap it around the ball, securing with a toothpick if needed.

Take these bacon wrapped – great salmon balls and place them on a baking sheet then pop into a 350 degree oven for half an hour.

You can turn this recipe from a main course of large balls to an appetizer of small ball by using a melon scoop to form smaller balls and wrap with bacon slices cut in half. Either way these make a nice addition to your canned-salmon skills.