Boiled Bacon My Way!

By Neil Muir (NEILMUIR1) on January 7, 2011

Boiled Bacon is such an inexpensive and versatile meat, why more people do not use I do not know. It can be cooked simply or with spices and herbs, to make this cheap meat something 'special'. Plus it has many other uses, as you will find out if you want to follow me.

Boiled Bacon, is so underrated, as people prefer Ham, yet it tastes delicious if cooked right. Luckily it is easy to do this, and can be cooked with a minimum of fuss yet a lot of taste! It can be bought either un smoked or smoked, but beware for if it says 'smoke flavoured' on the back do not touch it. Go for un smoked, unless you can get properly cold smoked Bacon. The bit I am using here is smoked properly. The next thing to remember is it will have been cured, so you need to get the salt and anything else out by soaking it in cold water for some time. I leave it for about 16 hours, changing the water as much as possible, and refreshing with new clean water.  On the left is my bit and on the right the same bit, but with Diamond shapes cut through the fat. I do this for some reasons; it allows the taste of the herbs and spices to get into the meat, and once cooked you can easily slice the fat off and place it in a baking tray in the oven for perfect pork crackling, already cut to size!

To Enlarge a Picture Please Just Click On It.

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Put your Bacon joint in a large pan, and then fill with water. Change the water as much as possible, well at least 3 times or more if it needs it!

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Once your Bacon has been soaked start on the next bit. Some people claim that you need a lot of cloves stuck into an onion. The trouble with that is cloves are strong and can if you are not careful totally spoil the taste, so I use half cloves and half black peppercorns as you can see. Then Bay leaves out of my garden. The tip with a Bay leaf is not just to put it in as it is, bend it till it cracks and you will get more flavour out of it! Carrots are essential both for the stock and for the dish as well. Plus add half a pint of cider as well. Put your Bacon on the stove and bring to the boil briefly, then get rid of the water and put clean fresh water in and add all the above ingredients. Bring back to the boil, and then simmer for 25-30 minutes a pound, plus an extra 25-30 minutes at the end! Here are the ingredients for the stock and then once the water has been changed since it was just boiled briefly, and then the ingredients added. Remember to make sure it does not boil dry.

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People still seem to be having difficulty with cabbage, so here is my way with this simple vegetable.  Take the outside leaves off and cut an upside down V so it takes all the stalks out in one go. Then roll each side like a cigar and chop through it one way and the other. You may need to cut it twice each way depending on how finely cut you like your cabbage. Now cut the heart of the cabbage in half and do the same to that.

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Here are the stalks cut out of the Heart of the cabbage, and it then chopped up ready to go in the steamer. Most of the problems seem to be as people overcook cabbage, cut like this it takes about 10-12 minutes in a steamer and no more.

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Peel your potatoes and carrots. This dish has mashed potato and boiled\steamed carrots with the cabbage.These I am just getting ready to peel.

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Check you bacon to ensure there is enough water still covering it. Once all your vegetables are done place in your steamer/pans ensuring the longest to cook (potatoes) goes on first, then carrots and finally cabbage. Now about five minutes before everything is ready it is time to make the parsley sauce. Some people do not like parsley so using exactly the same method you can make a mustard sauce without parsley. You will need.

2 oz of Butter.

2 oz of plain flour.

1 pint of milk, you may need more!

2-3 tsp fresh parsley or 1 to 1 tsp 1 & 1/2 tsp of dried parsley.

Salt and black pepper.

Get your meat out and cut the fat off, if you like crackling put it straight in the oven. Now for the sauce, place your butter in a small saucepan and melt it slowly add the flour stirring contiously all the time until you get a smooth roux. Take the pan off the heat and start adding the milk slowly and whisk all the time, return to the heat still adding milk. Add the salt, black pepper and the parsley and keep whisking, until it is the thickness you want. Place in a sauce dish. If you want mustard sauce you do the same but DO NOT put parsley in, instead you add 2-3 tsp of Colman's English mustard. Here is the cooked Bacon with the top fat removed and the sauce ready to serve.

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When it is all ready make your mashed potato. Then carve your Bacon, put it on the plate and add two spoonfuls of the wonderful stock out of the pan you cooked it in over the meat. The stock is full of flavour and keeps everything moist and tasty. now serve it all up making sure you butter the carrots.

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Here is the finished product with parsley sauce!


After you have enjoyed that, I hope! There shou;d be some Bacon left and some stock! Keep it, as the next bit is lovely. In the UK a classic dish is Ham, egg and chips. But you can use your Bacon just the same. Either cold like Ham or warmed up. To do Bacon, egg & chips firstly, peel and chip your potatoes and leave in water to get rid of the starch. Then drain and pat dry in a tea towel or kitchen paper. Fry in a deep fat fryer at 250F until pale, and remove to drain. Heat your fryer to 350F and put the chips back in till golden (8-10 minutes). Put some of the stock in a normal frying pan and gently warm up some cut Bacon. When all is nearly ready, cook an egg then serve like this in the picture. The temperatures are guidelines only. Hot Oil is Dangerous, be safe with a fryer!

You may hopefully have the end of your Bacon left, which is the best tasting bit by now. So this picture on the right is the cook's bit for their hard work.

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If you do not like cabbage or carrots etc., DO NOT use them, use something else you like and can get hold of. I use them, as I do not eat imported vegetables as I support our local Farmers. Why eat something that is out of season and has flown half way around the world, when I can get what I want 15 minutes from my front door? Plus I know exactly where it comes from, and who grew it.

This cheap and tasty Bacon can be used for so many things. If you have some left over make a Bacon Hash, or use it as you want in the first place. lovely anyway you so wish.




For Nancy. 

Related articles:
Bacon, bacon sandwiches, Bay leaves, black peppercorns, Boiled Bacon, cabbage, carrots, chips and egg, cloves, mashed potatoes, mustard sauce, onion, parsley sauce, stock

About Neil Muir
I started as a seven year Apprentice for a Parks Department on the London\Kent borders. Going to college one day a week and working in the varied Victorian parks, gardens and nurseries five days a week.
After this I worked for many large estates and became Head Gardener in different locations. However with the growing use of pesticides and herbicides I went back to University, primarily to study Conservation and Ecology, but relevant to the now growing organic movement in the UK. After 28 years in Horticulture due to an accident I was informed I could no longer do the physical work involved and was retired. I love supporting the Great British Gardens we have in our small island, and cooking the traditional food of this Country. My hobbies are listening to bagpipe music, steam trains and model making, plus of course gardening.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Yummy!! Ridesredmule Jan 8, 2011 3:28 PM 22
yum yum cececoogan Jan 8, 2011 10:38 AM 20
Bacon joint murielw1 Jan 7, 2011 2:42 PM 4
I can taste it now! Happy_1 Jan 7, 2011 6:37 AM 1

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