Looking to take that dish to the next level? You can't go wrong with bacon. Whether it's a main dish, side, breakfast, salad, vegetable, gluten-free food or even a cocktail, bacon almost always makes it better.
Roasted potato salad with bacon: This is far from a one-note recipe. Roasting the potatoes concentrates their earthy flavor, and binding them and the bacon together with mayonnaise spiked with the sharp flavors of capers and red onion makes for a wonderful contrast.
Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon: Love Brussels sprouts? Even if you're not a fan -- yet -- you can't help but love them when they're cooked with bacon and chestnuts. If you'd like, you can cook the Brussels sprouts ahead of time, up to a day before, and then cook the bacon and chestnuts and finish the dish shortly before serving.
Bacon and egg risotto: This velvety risotto incorporates the deep flavor of applewood-smoked bacon with arborio rice cooked to perfectly creamy consistency. Fresh chopped chives and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano lend bright color and subtle tang, and a fresh egg yolk is nestled into each hot portion right before serving for added richness. Look no further, this is pure comfort in a bowl.
You can find all of the recipes below.
ROASTED POTATO SALAD
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10
4 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, cleaned and halved lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard, or to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/2 red onion, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
1/4 cup capers
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Place the potatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the potatoes until golden brown and tender, about 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Remove and cool.
2. While the potatoes are roasting, cut the bacon crosswise into one-fourth-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently, watching that the bacon does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the grease for another use.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard and red wine vinegar. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust mustard, vinegar and seasoning if desired.
4. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and bacon with the sliced onion. Gently stir in enough dressing to coat, then stir in the capers. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
5. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop. The salad will keep for 3 days, refrigerated. Allow the salad to warm slightly at room temperature before serving.
Each of 10 servings: 420 calories; 11 grams protein; 34 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 28 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 29 mg. cholesterol; 696 mg. sodium.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS BRAISED WITH BACON AND CHESTNUTS
Total time: 40 minutes, plus roasting and peeling time for the chestnuts
Servings: 4 to 6
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped chestnuts (about ½ pound nuts in their shell)
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut an X in the stem end of each Brussels sprout and remove any outer leaves that are discolored or loose. In a covered pot, steam the sprouts over rapidly boiling water until they are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cut each sprout into lengthwise quarters and set aside. (The Brussels sprouts can be prepared up to this point 8 hours in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.)
2. Render the bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat until it softens and releases its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the minced shallot and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chestnuts and chicken broth to the pan, cover and simmer until the chestnuts are quite tender and sweet, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the vinegar and Brussels sprouts and cook, letting the flavors marry, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little more vinegar, if necessary, to brighten the flavors.
Each of 6 servings: 130 calories; 6 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 189 mg sodium.
APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON AND FARM-FRESH EGG RISOTTO
Total time: 40 minutes
Note: Adapted from a recipe by chef Jamie West of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Arborio rice can be found at well-stocked supermarkets, cooking stores and Italian markets. Applewood-smoked bacon can be found at most well-stocked markets.
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 strips bacon, preferably applewood-smoked, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper
4 egg yolks
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low to keep the broth warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart heavy pot over medium heat, cook the onion in the butter until softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, garlic and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon begins to brown, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir in one-half cup warm broth and continue to cook the rice at a simmer until the broth is absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue to add the broth, one-half cup at a time, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is creamy-looking but still slightly chewy, 18 to 20 minutes (you should have leftover broth).
4. Stir in the cheese and chives, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Immediately divide the risotto among 4 warmed plates, and make an indentation in each mound of risotto for a yolk. Place a yolk in the center of each mound and serve immediately.
Each serving: 302 calories; 12 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 14 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 225 mg. cholesterol; 1121 mg. sodium.