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Ideas for A Bacon-centric Meal?

I offered to cook a meal for a friend's birthday, and when asked what he wanted he simply replied, "bacon."

Not wanting to disappoint, I'm trying to think of some ideas to make a bacon centered meal. Mainly I want a bacony main dish and a side or too that will work well, but an appetizer of some sort would help too. If a wine is known that would match well, all the better. Desert is seperte from the bacon concepts, and as this is a birthday meal, I need an awesome cake idea.

I was first considering coq a vin, but didn't know if I could find a recipe that really brings out the lardons. I also considered a bacon wrapped/stuffed fowl of some sort, but would prefer that to only be a last resort, preferring something more creative. Additionally, this dish would have to be passable by teenager palates and attitudes, and be able to be made for 8 without too much additional hassle.

I did find the Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon recipe on this site to be very intriguing as a solid side dish, and the Pancetta and Hominy Polenta looks intriguing, assuming that I can get the kids to handle the polenta.

Any help at all is much appreciated, and I am under a bit of a time limit (this Saturday), so thank you.

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  1. Off the top of my sleepy head: App, scallops wrapped w/ bacon; main, rouladen stuffed w/ bacon; salad w/Penn Dutch hot bacon dressing, green beans w/ bacon bits, pasta carbonara and double the bacon; dessert, bacon cheese cake?! Or a gourmet bacon sampler w/ cheese fruit and port. Sounds like what one of my adult kids would like. Don't forget the heart meds.

    1. I love bacon!

      Search notmartha.org for bacon cups. Yes, they are what they sound like. You can use them to hold salad.

      Sweet-and-spicy bacon from Gourmet, recipe also below. Everyone I make this for asks for extra to take home. Would make an excellent nibble to start off the meal. OR - bacon-wrapped parmesan-stuffed dates (stuff date with piece of parm, wrap in bacon, and bake). So easy, so good.

      Bacon dessert idea: candied bacon ice cream. I haven't tried it yet, but someday soon...

      1. For a main course, only two things pop to mind for me, beyond the obvious "bacon and eggs." First is, of course, spaghetti carbonara. When made right, it as an embarasssment of bacon richness. You can use either pancetta or plain old bacon bacon. The other dish is quiche Loiraine, with bacon, not ham, and as much bacon as you like. While both bouef Buirguignon and coq au vin have "bacon" in them, it isn't the star of either dish.

        For a first course, there is practically no limit to the things you can wrap in bacon and either fry, broil or roast until crisp. Artichoke hearts, brussel sprouts, cherry or grape tomatoes, shrimp, lobster, octopus, oysters, clams, steak, chicken cubes... Yup. Endless!

        If the carbonerra sounds interesting, sometimes simplicity is elegance, so I wouldn't worry about side dishes. Maybe a Caesar salad, and if you like, you can add some crumbled crisp bacon to it, but plain would underscore the richness of the carbonara.

        1. Don't doubt that you can find a use for bacon even in desserts. Vosges makes a very popular bacon chocolate bar that you can use to make a chocolate birthday cake. Or if you want to be more original, you could always make your own chocolate cake with bacon brittle.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            I've always wanted to try a little bacon in the elvis cake, actually... And, no doubt about it, the Elvis Cake is awesome.

            There are a lot of posts on the Vosges chocolate if you're curious about it--personally, I didn't find it bacon-y enough, though, it was fun as a novelty.

            Edit: here's a link to the "bacon" subdiscussion of the Elvis Cake thread... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43818...


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Agree that the Vosges chocolate isn't bacony enough. There was a post awhile back that linked toa blog that made Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies that i've always wanted to try. Also recalled that a commenter on that blog mentioned doing sugar cookies and adding bacon to it.

              For bacon centric meal, here are some suggestions:

              Frisee salad aux lardons

              Spaghetti Carbonara (guanciale would be best in this applications, second best would be pancetta but high quality bacon would work).

              An Elvis - peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey sandwich that is buttered and fried like grilled cheese.

              Pasta with an overeasy egg and sauteed bacon. Crisp up some bacon, then using the fat, fry an egg in it till barely set and then plate on top of cooked pasta.

              Also, do an internet search for a Bacon Cheese BaconBurger if you want to go all out. Haven't had the guts to try it...

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                speaking of elvis, for a fun lower brow dessert, make mini/petit four elvis sandwiches w/ pb, bacon, and banana, then fry and serve w/ a thinned jam puree.

            2. It might be a little low-brow, but always a hit at my parties:

              Cook bacon strips slightly ( I usually do this in the oven)
              wrap around large water chestnuts.
              skewer with a toothpick.
              add a small fresh pineapple chunk.
              Cook in the oven until the bacon is at desired doneness.
              eaten all at once, a quick easy delicious appetizer.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kmills9408

                I like the bacon around water chestnut thing but I like to smear peanut butter on top when it's hot and bubbly. :)

              2. I had a party for my husband once, made his favorite dishes and w/out realizing it until someone pointed it out, almost everything had bacon in it (including one gift, the book Everything Tastes Better with Bacon). For appetizers, we do: shrimp deveined w/ a sliver of jalapeno, wrapped in bacon, sprinkle brown sugar and broil. You get that sweet, spicy, salty all at once. Also in a similar vein, heart attacks--bacon wrapped around cut hot dogs, sprinkled w/ bacon and baked (perfect for teenage palates). Both are easy to make in advanced. Meatloaf w/ strips of bacon across is popular, along w/ mashed potatoes w/ bacon and sour cream.

                As desserts go, having pulled out that Bacon book, they have recipes for: Try It You'll Like it Bacon Brittle, Double crunch peanut butter cookies, pear-apple crisp w/ brown sugar bacon topping, hazelnut bacon candy crunch, ruby raisin mincemeat tart, God's Little Acre Apple Hand Pies. I can post any of those, if you're interested. The pear apple crisp looks really good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  How about a bacon-tasting starter course? Artisinal bacons, duck bacon, wild boar bacon, etc.

                2. bacon is a traditional ingredient in spinach salad

                  also, a BLT can be very special and luxurious with homemade bread and super awesome vine-ripened tomato

                  1. How about roast collar of bacon? I've made this recipe before:


                    Otherwise I'd go for carbonara and a frisee salad with lardons.

                    I lalso ove dates wrapped in bacon as a tapas with drinks.

                    1. I know you said the dessert was separate from the bacon theme, but how about a pig-shaped cake -- from whence comes bacon? You don't have time for an Ace of Cakes rendition, but here's a link for some cute cupcakes, a dozen of which could serve as table decorations around the real cake (carrot, flourless choc, whatever).


                      Alternatively, you might be able to find pig candles or plastic pigs (in a party store) that you could stick in the real BD cake along with regular BD candles.

                      And don't forget Chowser's book for gifting next year!

                      1. I've heard great things about the Zuni braised bacon. It's on my list to try as soon as I source some slab bacon.

                        James Villas has a new bacon book out -- with recipes like bacon, horseradish & cream cheese dip, bacon cheddar popcorn, English bacon & egg pie, Hungarian venison & bacon ragout, German bacon cookies....

                        1. notmartha's bacon cups are ok, but Kitchn made them better with pancetta:

                          Candied Bacon Ice Cream:

                          Don't forget the bacon gifts:
                          I got my cousin the bacon wallet, gummy bacon, and bacon air fresheners a couple of years ago when he was in college. He still carries that bacon wallet!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Aimi

                            David L's candied bacon ice cream is so, so good. I loved it and so did my guests!

                            I've also made these:


                            which were also quite good, but the chunk o' bacon on top was a little off putting to some. For the glaze, I added some rum, which I thought was good.

                          2. Pork belly is so trendy right now, there are lots of good recipes for it out there.

                            I have a recipe for ginger snaps made with bacon fat that were a big hit. And then someone suggested using the bacon fat ginger snaps to make sauerbraten.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              That is my thought, only I'd bbq the Filipino way.

                              And then there's always twice baked potatoes with bacon/ stuffed mushrooms with bacon (made these for St. Patty's Day party) and they were gone fast.

                            2. Irish Roast - Tenderloin of beef stuffed with crispy fried bacon, garlic and thyme, wrap tenderloin in bacon and tie - roast the roast until medium rare. Steamed broccoli with crispy bacon bits in butter, with grey salt to finish.

                              1. Bacon Gravy over biscuits.

                                1. You could also pick up a container of bacon salt:


                                  I've also made bacon deviled eggs and a BLT salad w/ chipotle dressing.


                                  And, blt panzanella (bacon is my husband's favorite food...), different variations but this is one:


                                  1. BLT canapes, bacon popcorn, original Irish St. Paddies Day boiled slab of bacon and cabbage w/ bacon flavored Schenke (sp?) Rauchbier! Man, I'm gettin' into this.

                                    Don't forget to tell us what you made!

                                    1. Last night I cooked a couple of bacon dishes and left out one because there was so much bacon.

                                      We had a potato soup that began with bacon fried and then chicken broth,leeks, onions, garlic, and pototoes added. You then puree it. The bacon and yes the grease shine in this. We had Rouladen for the main course, bacon, bacon, bacon. We considered German potato salad, but the meal was getting too heavy.

                                        1. Well, the party was postponed slightly so I haven't made anything yet, though this is giving me much more time to plan and prepare. Thank you for all your ideas, some of them sound awesome for well after this party.

                                          At this point, I'm thinking of as appetizers making the bacon braised cabbage and piling a bit of it onto crackers with a little camembert and/or making those awesome shrimp/jalapeno/bacon/brown sugar things that chowser recommended, which sound astounding.

                                          Then making spaghetti carbonara, heavy on the bacon. Great idea. Then frying up some bacon, using the fat to fry up some sweet potato fries and using the bacon to crumble over a simple frisee salad. I figure then the teens will have fries, the adults get salad, and everybody gets the delicious bacon pasta.

                                          From there I'm considering either making another entree type dish with more meat, or going straight to desert. If I go to dessert, after all your calling for it I plan on making bacon-cake cupcakes (possibly with apple frosting) as well as a regular marbled birthday cake.

                                          I've loved all your ideas, and thanks for all the help. I didn't imagine this board or I would get as into this meal as this. My only problem now is trying to get any bacon butchered locally, so as to get it thicker cut or just fresher. Santa Barbara seems devoid of advertised butchers, so I was planning to just use the Nieman Ranch bacon from Trader Joe's instead, which I've had good experience with in the past.

                                          Thanks again everyone.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Shortsord

                                            Oh we're into. I'm waiting for my invitation. Seriously, I can't wait to hear how it goes!


                                          2. Only thing missing above is corn bread with lost of crispy fried bits of bacon and chopped chives.

                                            1. When I make meatloaf, I shape it by hand into an oval loaf on a jelly roll pan, and (when feeling decadent), cover completely with bacon (~1.5 layers), and then glaze with chili sauce/brown sugar/dry mustard. I use Pederson's natural uncured smoked bacon, which is wonderful.

                                              PS I've also made ginger cookies with bacon fat, which apparently goes back a long way ... but I can't say I thought they were wonderful.