I had never had a bacon chop until I moved over here to the UK. They used to carry them at the butchers down at the Parade of Shops on the other side of our community, but that butchers ended up going out of business. Sadly, he could not compete with the multitude of large chain grocery shops in our area. I think its really sad when that happens. I really do. My heart longs for the days when you bought everything you ate locally and in season, produced with old fashioned love and integrity and by people you know and love.
I love bacon. There used to be a Butcher shop back where I lived in Canada that sold his own home smoked bacon. Oh boy but it was some good. I often think about it and how delicious it was. I found a recipe in River Cottage Every Day, by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall for home cured bacon chops and I was really keen to try them. He's a great cook and largely unknown in North America. You North American's are missing out on a real gem!
You begin by creating a rub using fine sea salt, brown sugar, black pepper, shredded bayleaf and crushed juniper berries. This gets rubbed into four thick boneless pork loin chops and then placed in the refrigerator to cure for 12 hours at the very least, but no longer than 24 (for extra thick chops.)
My chops were of a medium thickness and this is what they looked like after they had been sitting for about 14 hours. You can see that quite a lot of liquid has been released. You need to rinse them really well under cold running water and then dry them off with some kitchen paper towelling.
After that you can keep them in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five or six days. They are not the bright pink of store bought bacon because they are no nitrates involved, which I think is a good thing, don't you?
These are completely natural, using only natural ingredients, nothing artificial here. And they pan grilled for about six minutes per side, they turned out beautiful. A bit salty, but I think the extra two hours was to blame for that. I will do this again the next time we want bacon chops because they were truly delicious and I loved that it was something I could do myself. Who knows if I get more adept at it, I might even experiment with some other flavours!
*Home Cured Bacon Chops*Makes 4
4 large boneless pork loin chops
I really hope that you will give this a go. It was so easy to do and the results are impeccable. In this day when most of the things we eat are so highly processed, it is nice to have something which can take you back to the basic values and integrity of food preparation that our forefathers practiced. I felt quite mother earth. Bon Appetit!
Hmmm . . . I wonder if I could interest Todd in a smoker . . .