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Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon--bacon substitute?

E_M Sep 11, 2009 02:59 PM

Julia Child's recipe calls for browning the beef and vegetables in bacon fat, then cooking everything together (the recipe calls for a 6 ounce chunk). Obviously, I can't use bacon. Can anyone recommend a good substitute? I didn't think oil would provide enough flavor.

Many thanks....

  1. n
    nm1 Sep 11, 2009 03:13 PM

    There's always schmaltz and grieben....

    1. l
      LisaPA Sep 11, 2009 03:25 PM

      I've had sesame oil in a vegetarian dish that gave it a similarly smoky taste to bacon, but I don't know if it would work in bourgignon. You probably wouldn't want to use a lot.

      1. f
        ferret Sep 11, 2009 05:57 PM

        Just skip it. We have friends who are French (and owned a restaurant in France). Their recipe was very similar but they never used bacon. It won't be "exactly" Julia Child's recipe but so what?

        1. weinstein5 Sep 11, 2009 06:42 PM

          If you have a kosher butcher that cures its own meats nearby I would go for their house cured beef fry - I have done that many a time with great success

          1 Reply
          1. re: weinstein5
            azna29 Sep 14, 2009 12:57 PM

            I usually use a little chopped and sauteed Turkey Cabanos just for the smoky flavor.

          2. f
            ferret Sep 14, 2009 01:18 PM

            And let's not forget Bacon Salt! :)


            (Watch out for the milchig flavors.)

            5 Replies
            1. re: ferret
              daphnar Sep 15, 2009 09:39 AM

              Is Bacon Salt salty?

              1. re: daphnar
                ferret Sep 15, 2009 10:56 AM

                It's like Lawry's seasoned salt with a smoky something. Great on scrambled eggs & popcorn. Two of the flavors have something milchig in the mix so beware. They also have Baconnaise - bacon-y mayo (also milchig).


                1. re: daphnar
                  rockycat Sep 16, 2009 06:55 AM

                  Believe it or not, it's actually pretty low in sodium. I find the salt taste noticable but not objectionable. Both the salt and the Baconnaise have gone over gangbusters in our house.

                  1. re: rockycat
                    DeisCane Sep 16, 2009 07:30 AM

                    They should make the baconnaise pareve.

                    1. re: DeisCane
                      ferret Sep 16, 2009 07:58 AM

                      It's not clear from the ingredients why it's milchig (or why two of the salt products are). I'm sure they were happy just to tap the Kosher market, probably didn't consider the practical ramifications.

              2. l
                lawmann Sep 14, 2009 02:01 PM

                In Israel we get kosher smoked goose breast, which is the closest thing I've found to something I haven't eaten in at least 30 years. Is it available in the U.S.? I have also smoked my own goose breast using a sweet cure similar to those used for bacon and it tasted really good. Though it's more than a bit of work, it freezes well, so I made enough to make the effort worthwhile.

                4 Replies
                1. re: lawmann
                  DeisCane Sep 14, 2009 02:44 PM

                  Smoked goose leg or thigh would be even better.

                  It's not available in the US. The closest would have been the now-halted Aaron's smoked turkey shawarma thigh.

                  1. re: DeisCane
                    lawmann Sep 14, 2009 04:47 PM

                    I've had smoked goose thigh and it was quite tasty. The reason I recommend the breast in place of bacon is the nice layer of fat all along the top.

                    1. re: lawmann
                      DeisCane Sep 14, 2009 05:26 PM

                      But the thigh has to be fattier, no?

                      1. re: DeisCane
                        lawmann Sep 15, 2009 02:50 AM

                        I don't recall the thigh having that much fat unless, maybe, you break down a whole goose. I've bought them as separate parts, the way you can buy chicken thighs which have been already cut.
                        Be that as it may, another advantage of the boneless breast is that the fat is a nice even layer across the top. After you smoke it you can slice it and each slice has a really flavorful edge of fat, which partially renders and partially crisps up when you put it in a fry pan. It is quite reminiscient of bacon.

                2. e
                  E_M Sep 22, 2009 01:37 PM

                  Well, I made it, and used a bit of beef fat to brown the meat. As far as I can tell, it didn't add anything to the flavor. However, the meal was one of the best I've ever made.

                  Her recipe, you see, calls for boiling the rind of the bacon to remove the smoky flavor. So I am assuming that she intends the bacon to act as a fat and not flavor enhancer?

                  1. k
                    koshermasterchef Oct 31, 2009 02:37 PM

                    For the next time, you might try a couple of slices of beef salami which you cut into chunks and brown as if they are bacon lards. There is a lot of fat in the salami and it has a smokey flavor. It is salty and garlicky, so you will want to adjust the salt and garlic in the recipe. I also use a chunk of salami in my pea lentil soup. It gives it a delicious creamy flavor that you can't get otherwise. Of course, it does make it a meat dish, but mine isn't allowed to hang about long enough to be there for another meal, so it's not an issue in my house.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: koshermasterchef
                      Bzdhkap Oct 31, 2009 07:26 PM

                      Do you brown the salami before you add it to the pea lentil soup?

                      1. re: Bzdhkap
                        weinstein5 Nov 1, 2009 03:30 AM

                        in my split pea soup I have always added without browning - but browning sounds like a nice touch - a little crispier in the soup

                        1. re: Bzdhkap
                          koshermasterchef Nov 1, 2009 02:50 PM

                          I typically do not brown it and I "fish" it out of the soup before serving. However, if you intend to leave it in, I would cut it into small chunks and leave it in the soup, or do a combination of these, by also separately browning some till crispy which you crumble and sprinkle over the soup when serving. I don't think that browning it before adding the rest of the ingredients to make the soup will give you a desirable texture to the soup. As with all things, you wont' know till you try, so try it a few different ways and let us know.

                      2. r
                        rprp2 Nov 4, 2009 03:50 PM

                        French "bacon" is not smoked, so any substitute should likewise not be smoked. The pork product is used for its fat and, of course, its distinct flavor. Any substitution -- oil would work for the fat -- simply will not impart the pork flavor. BUT the dish is wonderful without those porky undertones.

                        1. j
                          jsav Feb 3, 2010 04:45 PM

                          I used the vegetarian bacon, but it added nothing. I would just leave it out!

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