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Dec 21, 2010 01:07 AM

How substitute bacon in a dish for Muslim guests?

I'm making a Coq Au Vin and I can't use pork in the recipe. Is there any other ingredient that can be added for that extra layer of flavour and to deliver that succulent fat?

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  1. Since the prohibition is against pork rather than against bacon per se, I recommend you check out lamb bacon. Since lamb bacon is less widely available than turkey bacon, and the latter really won't deliver what you're looking for, I searched for an online source of lamb bacon. Success.

    FWIW, my search also turned up a mention of this product/brand in the April 2009 NY Times. Here's that link:

    Since the article mentions the slightly gamier flavor of lamb bacon, I assume you'll want to use less in your coq au vin recipe.

    1. try a halal sausage...might not be exact, but it would at least be in the right direction.)

      1. Coq au vin will be perfectly good without any type of bacon. Just make sure you reduce the red wine sufficiently to give a rich flavor. Tip: add a little powdered c├Ępes (porcini) to the wine sauce before reducing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ptipois

          I have had good results without the bacon substitute for friends who do not eat pork using the aforementioned technique. After plating, add some toasted pistachios (coarsely chopped or whole) they make a wonderful bacony flavor/texture addition to the dish (unorthodox, I know). Learned this from a recipe for Seder. It was a spinach soup recipe garnished with pistachios. Have used them as a bacon sub for salads/soups since. Not Jewish, the soup recipe just looked and was really good.

          1. re: Berheenia

            Assuming they are sufficiently observant to avoid pork, then they'll be sufficiently observant to also avoid alcohol.

            1. re: Harters

              Not exactly. Speaking as a not-hugely-observant Muslim, with alcohol particularly one finds the whole spectrum. Some drink it, some don't mind cooking with it as long as the alcohol is burnt away, some don't even wear alcohol-based perfume.

              Pork on the other hand is almost always a no-no: I know plenty of atheist former-Muslims who won't touch it. Though I believe Balkan/ Caucasus Muslims tend to be more relaxed about it.

              1. re: tavegyl

                I agree with you two. Pork is a define and absolute no-no in Islamic teaching. Alcohol is open for interpretation. Hartes is correct too. If a Muslim doesn't even worry about pork, then he will most likely do not even worry about alcohol.

          2. We have Muslim guests all the time -- in fact, we have one now. D'Artagnan makes a wonderful duck bacon as well as duck prosciutto. We have used both with success. The wine issue is more troubling. Does the alcohol burn off entirely? Most people say that it doesn't. We just try to avoid it in cooking when we can, but you can't get too worked up about small amounts -- like the alcohol in vanilla extract. I understand that it is possible to get some decent non-alcoholic wines, but I have never tried them. Maybe it's time to move on to chicken cacciatore instead?

            4 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              roxlet: "[I]t is possible to get some decent non-alcoholic wines."

              Not on Earth, anyway.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Well, you're probably right, but I was just trying to put a positive spin on it!

                1. re: roxlet

                  eh... not to nitpick, but i know plenty of people who won't do non-alcoholic wines/beer due to the (very) low alcohol content. same goes for kombucha. in my experience, those that stubbornly avoid alcohol avoid it completely. sparkling cider is usually a very appreciated alternative for non-drinkers.

              2. re: roxlet

                I've used this as a substitute for cooking with wine. It doesn't taste exactly the same, but it does taste similar, and good.


                Why make assumptions about your guests? All of this might be a non-issue. A bit of tactful but direct communication will resolve whether or not cooking with alcohol and/or pork will matter to your particular guests, regardless of their religion or cultural background.