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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.

    http://catskill-merino.com/store/9

    FWIW, my search also turned up a mention of this product/brand in the April 2009 NY Times. Here's that link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/din...

    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 cèpes (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.

                http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

                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.

              3. Ask your guests for some advice! Also, I highly suggest changing the menu entirely as others have already mentioned- Muslims are not allowed to have alcohol, and can you guarantee that 100% of it cooks off? However, as with Jews, not all Muslims are 100% observant, so I go back to my first sentence- ask them first.

                1 Reply
                1. re: NicoleFriedman

                  Agreed! Ask them and/or change menu to roast chicken or something else.

                2. Substitute beef bacon for the pork. Gwaltney makes beef bacon but the best I have tasted comes from Wellshire Farms. It has a great meaty flavor will all the smokey goodness of pork bacon. I suspect either would perform well in Coq au Vin.

                  1. as to the wine question: alcohol does not completely evaporate or "cook off."

                    1. I've made this very recipe quite successfully by eliminating the lardon / bacon and adding a few tbsps of rendered duck fat ( you can buy at gourmet shops) and a bit of salt. I found the richness and saltiness were very well mimicked by the duck fat.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                        Given how much fat there is on a typical chicken, do you need added fat from another animal?

                        As for salt, don't we all adjust the saltiness near the end of cooking.

                        I wonder if the use of bacon in this dish is a hold over from the days when it was made with an old rooster. Is the use of bacon (must it be smoked?) so enshrined that we can't think of making the dish without it, or a substitute?

                        But speaking of substitutes, how taking some extra skin from the chicken (such as from the back), and cooking it till it is well rendered and browned?

                        1. re: paulj

                          These won't help with the fat, but for a smoky flavor you could try Bacon Salt or Liquid Smoke. In other recipes I've also used applewood-smoked salt very successfully. :)

                          1. re: Chowbird

                            Is a smoky flavor essential, or even traditional? Discussions about Italian cooking tend to dogmatic as to whether bacon can substitute for unsmoked panchetta. The smoked v nonsmoked debate does not seem to be as heating when dealing with French dishes.

                            Do French versions of the recipe call for bacon or lardons? The latter is not smoked.

                            This Julia Child version
                            http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=7...
                            calls for blanching the bacon to remove the smokiness and excess salt

                            1. re: paulj

                              lardons are sold as smoked and unsmoked...and they sell plenty of both.

                      2. Thanks for all the tips guys. The guests are fine with alcohol being used. It's only pork that is an issue.

                        I think I am just going to keep it simple and leave the bacon out. I haven't got any duck fat on hand. Only some curry flavoured goat fat but I really don't think that will do. To me Coq Au Vin does not seem to be such a finicky dish that it would be blasphemous to just work with whatever is going to work.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jkhdsf

                          well, exactly.

                          That's the thing with ALL of these French peasant dishes -- bourgignonne, cassoulet, coq au vin, pate, French onion soup....

                          These are dishes thrown together by farm wives trying to make the best of what they had on hand. They were never intended to be fussy showpieces requiring a Master's degree to accomplish...they are just simple food. (delicious, but simple)

                          Omit and substitute as you need to....les flics won't show up at your door because you didn't do it exactly as written...their mothers didn't make it exactly to a recipe, either.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            and to add while I would never use it, most "bacon" salt has ...surprise! no animal product in it.

                            1. re: hill food

                              Here in Israel, smoked goose breast is commonly used as a bacon substitute for those who don't eat pork. Don't know how common it is in your neck of the woods.

                              1. re: MarkC

                                I find Yves brand Canadian bacon (which is totally vegetarian/vegan) works fine in these kinds of recipes, diced and sauteed in olive oil. It's quite salty, and not all that convincing on its own as a bacon/Canadian bacon substitute. But these pseudo lardons work well for me in cooked dishes.

                        2. As Muslims they should be just as worried about the alcohol as they are the pork. That to me makes no sense. I use turkey bacon and I also use turkey ham.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: guestoh

                            Not necessarily.

                            I live in the Middle East and plenty of Muslims drink alcohol. It comes down to personal preferences. As others have said above, pork is the one haram ingredient that's rarely ever touched.

                            Anyway, I just realized you bounced up an old thread and the OP confirmed his Muslim guests were fine with the alcohol.