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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stupid Little Mistakes - Farmers Bacon

This is a classic example of why reading a recipe is important before you even take the meat out of the freezer, unless you are a veggie in which case you won't be taking meat out, but you get the idea. The night before I made this recipe when I took the piece of bacon out of the freezer, I was thinking, nice, quick, hassle free meal for the next day... You can imagine therefore my complete horror, when I discovered that it was going to take about two and a half hours - Argh! It's well worth the effort and leaves you with enough leftovers, so it wasn't a complete disaster. As it turned out on this occasion it worked in my favour as something unexpected came up the next day, and leftovers came in handy.

Farmers Bacon

750g slab of lean bacon
a few parsley stalks
6 black pepper corns
1 bay leaf
4 potatoes cut into chunks
4 carrots coursely chopped
chopped parsley to garnish

Cheese Sauce

3tbsp butter
45g flour
200ml milk
90g grated cheddar cheese (or your favourite)
salt and pepper

1. Put the bacon into a large sauce pan and cover with cold water, put the saucepan on a high heat and bring to a boil. Once it's at boiling point, take it off the heat and drain away the hot water, (you're getting rid of some of the saltiness) rinse under running cold water, then place back in the saucepan with fresh cold water. Add the parsley, pepper and bay leaf, bring to a boil again, then turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

2. Now add the potatoes and carrots and return to a boil again. Cover, turn down the heat and simmer again gently until the meat and vegetables are tender, this should take about 20 minutes or so. Once it's all nice and tender, drain the water, keeping the cooking liquid. Let the bacon cool slightly.

3. Remove all the fat from the bacon and cut it into bite sized pieces, place it and the vegetables into a shallow oven proof dish and keep warm.

4. In a small saucepan melt the butter, mix the flour with a little of the milk, pouring the rest of the milk into the saucepan, once it starts to boil gently add the milk with the flour continuously stirring, remove from the heat and stir in 250ml of the cooking liquid you kept, bring back to a boil and then add 3/4 of the cheese stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the cheese sauce over the meat and vegetables, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 180C/350F until the cheese has melted and it's bubbling, about 30 minutes in total. Garnish with the remaining parsley.

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