Saturday, 22 March 2014

Slow Cook Bacon

Slow Cooker HamLast Sunday was my best crock pot experience yet! We had a small piece of bacon (ham before it's cooked) which looked about big enough for 4 people. We'd had a tough week, with Miss Fussy Eater having her tonsils out on Wednesday, and Mr Teenager off school with a bad cold and cough since Tuesday. I had also come down with cold/cough, so we really weren't up to much at all.

I had a look around for a recipe for a small ham but found nothing of interest. I also realised that cooking a raw ham is not usual in the US. Any recipes I found assumed that the ham (e.g. Christmas ham) was already cooked and only needed heating through. In Ireland, it's very common to have a small piece of bacon, smoked or unsmoked, often boiled in a pot, with cabbage. So, I decided I'd just go ahead and make up my own recipe, with whatever I had on hand.


On Sunday morning, not too early, I chopped some onions and carrots and put them at the bottom of the pot. I put the bacon joint on top. I found about 1/2 cup of apple juice in the fridge and added that, along with about 1/2 cup water. Then I just turned the crock pot on low and left it, for about 6 or 7 hours.

Later that day I prepared some mashed potato. Then I took the meat out of the pot (smelling delicious and so tender you could carve it with a fork) and examined the juice left behind in the pot. I realised that it wasn't excessively salty and tasted really quite good. So, I mixed in about 1tsp of cornflour (mixed with some water) and turned the pot to high.

As I pulled the cooked ham into chunks, I had a bit of a brainwave! I was reminded of some of the delicious ham and bean cuisine we had encountered in the Vendée region of France, and decided to throw into the pot, with the slightly thickened ham stock, onions and carrots, tin of butter beans. Finally, I served the ham with the mashed potato, with ladels of the bean stew.

The Result

This was absolutely delicious; full of flavour. Although the ingredients were simple and inexpensive, the result was just perfect for a house full of convelescents on a rather dreary, cold day. The ham was devoured and the potato was perfect to soak up the delicious bean stew.

There was a very small amount of meat left over, which Mr Teenager took in his sandwiches during the week. There was quite a bit of the bean stew left, which made an excellent lunch (as a bowl of soup) for me the next day.

The Verdict

Mr Teenager could not get enough of the meat. He refused the beans and picked out the onions. Otherwise he was wholly enthusiastic and had two full portions. Miss Fussy Eater was less enthusiastic, but we'll forgive her because of her recent surgery.

I really hope that I can recreate this meal, because it was darned good.

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