Doing beef bourguignon tonight. I realize that lardons aren't really necessary anymore because modern beef is a lot fattier but I want to stick with the classic recipe and get that hint of pork flavor into the stew. I have some particularly smokey bacon (Nueske's) and many recipes (inculding Julias) call for blanching the bacon to remove some of the smoke/salt. I tested the process this morning and then subsequently ate the bacon with my breakfast. It is definitely less smoky/salty but still has some discernible smoke flavor.
My questions are:
1. Will blanching longer continue to reduce the smoke flavor?
2. Is there a good substitute for the bacon? I don't think pancetta makes sense because it's seasoned and I don't want that.
3. Do you omit the bacon entirely? Is it purely sentimental at this point?
Have not had the bacon you mentioned but I'd Just use the bacon as is. The wine is going to be the dominant flavor in the dish anyway.
If I recall, when I did Julia's recipe, I used salt pork and blanched to remove the salt. Since salt pork is not smoked, this gets around the smoke issue, nicely.
I found it, tucked up in a corner of the pork section...not the bacon/sausage section...of a largish mainstream grocery store.
Best of luck,
Nueske's bacon has a lot of smoke on it. I can understand why you might want to lessen it for your dish. I can't advise about blanching, but when I need lardons, these days I use either pork jowl or salt pork. Both of these products are available at our local Publix store packaged in short, bacon-like strips. I prefer them to bacon in a number of recipes.
I need to treat it or omit it entirely. I've done the dish before (with poor quality wine and the same bacon) and the smoke flavor is overwhelming. I have a really good, sweet pinot noir to use this time and I want it to show through. I'll look for salt pork I guess. Maybe I'll blanch a bunch of bacon (i have plenty) and see what 5-10-15 minutes etc does.