Bean Stew with Red Wine Syrup

Got it from here originally, but we’ve adapted it slightly for our locale while on vacation in Mexico. Plan ahead — starting with dry beans means an overnight soak before you can get started in earnest.

Want to make it meatless? Be careful. The bacon provides salt, smoke flavor, and fat to keep the beans from going chalky on you. So if you’re going vegetarian here, you might consider adding pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika) or even liquid smoke flavoring, salt, and plenty of olive oil to compensate.

Ingredients

1/2 pound bacon, diced or in postage-stamp-sized slices
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped or smashed
1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, more to taste
2 cups dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Shredded cotija cheese, for serving (optional)
generous bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Instructions

1. In the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat, brown bacon until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in onion, celery, carrots, garlic and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Drain beans and add to pot along with 1 tablespoon salt. Pour in enough water to just cover the beans (about 7 to 8 cups). Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently until beans are just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, simmer wine until it is reduced to 2/3 cup, 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Pour wine into beans, mix in the cumin and chili powder, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes longer to meld flavors and thicken broth to taste. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.

Bacon Jam

Not Quite Nigella's Bacon Jam recipe printed in the Detroit NewsMy sister and I visited my parents for the weekend in rural Michigan about a year ago. One afternoon while it was time for a snack, they said “You guys need to try this, but we’re not telling you what it is. We’re positive you’ll like it. See if you can guess.” They spread a tiny sample of a dark brown paste on a cracker and I took a sniff. It smelled good — really good. Thoughts of Sarah’s family and hometown flooded my mind as I took a bite. I asked, “Is this a chunky barbecue sauce?” “It’s BACON JAM!” they exclaimed. Of course! It’s not a big surprise the smoky, savory, and sweet flavor elements reminded me of Kansas City barbecue. Continue reading Bacon Jam

Bacon Fried Rice

Here is a great way to use up leftover rice – although we often make rice the day before specifically for this. You could probably throw in other vegetables, too, but be certain to cook them until they’re no longer releasing liquid. Too-wet veggies will prevent the optimal crispness of the rice. We got the inspiration from Culinate, but (as usual) this version is my tweaked one.

4 strips bacon, roughly chopped
12-18 green onions, sliced (white and light green parts only)
3-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 inch knob ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 T soy sauce
4 T white wine (Shao Xing is great here)
1 T Hoisin sauce
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1/2 t rice vinegar
4 c cooked rice, cold
1 t sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten

In a large deep skillet or pot (or wok, if you have one), fry the bacon over medium-high heat. When the edges are just starting to get crisp, remove all but one tablespoon of the drippings and add the onions, garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, until just beginning to get tender and fragrant. Whisk together the soy, wine, Hoisin, pepper flakes and vinegar and set aside.

Add the rice to the bacon mixture, breaking up any lumps and reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the sesame oil over the rice and add the sauce mixture, stirring until well distributed. Let the rice mixture stand undisturbed for one minute. After a minute, lift the layer of rice from them bottom – it should be lightly browned and crisp. Stir the rice so another layer has the chance to crisp and repeat until you’ve almost achieved your desired texture.

Push the rice to the side of the skillet and make room for the eggs. Pour the beaten eggs directly on to the surface of the pan and allow to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Once a good skin of cooked egg has formed on the surface of the pan, briskly stir the egg, scrambling it in the small space available for it, until you’ve reached your preferred scrambly-egg texture. Remove pan from heat, stir well to distribute the egg and crisped rice bits and serve immediately.

Bacon Leek Risotto

We’ve been experimenting with risotto lately. Now that I’m an avowed maker of my own stocks, I occasionally have more than I can store and risotto is a great way to use up 4-6 cups at a time. Plus, the ritual of adding the broth and stirring is strangely relaxing. We stocked up on Arborio and Carnaroli rice on our road trip to Italy, so we’ve got plenty of risotto ingredients. This recipe from the (adorably named) blog Rootie Tootie Fresh & Foodie has been a go-to of ours for a while now.

5 c chicken broth
1 T olive oil
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 leeks, sliced into rounds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
3/4 c dry white wine
3 T chopped parsley (plus more for topping)
1 T butter
2 T parmesan cheese, grated (plus more for topping)

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan and cover to keep warm.

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until edges are beginning to crisp. Remove bacon drippings except for 1 tablespoon and add leeks to skillet. Stir leeks frequently (if pan seems dry, add a little more olive oil) until beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for another 2 minutes.

Add rice to skillet, stir well until all grains are glossy, about 2 minutes. Add wine to skillet and stir until absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth (about 1 ladle-full) to skillet and stir constantly. When most of the broth is absorbed, add another 1/2 cup and repeat this process (always stirring) until rice is tender but firm to bite and sauce is creamy – about 20-25 minutes.

When you’re happy with the texture, add the parsley, butter and cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and remove from heat. Allow risotto to stand for 1-2 minutes before serving.