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Cooking with bacon doesn't have to be unhealthy. Follow these tips for delectable bacon-infused recipes that won't ruin your diet.
I just love pork. Every cut of it. And, every recipe with pork in it. Bacon is the greatest food on the planet (which is why I call it "The Divine Swine!"). Unlike a pork chop or loin, though, bacon isn't exactly lean, so you may not want to enjoy it every day. But, can you cook with healthier bacon and make better recipes? Yes! Are you ready? Keep these tips in mind:
Buy center-cut bacon. It's actually among the leanest varieties because it has the most meat and the least amount of fat. If you don't mind a thinner, crispier-tasting bacon, you can also cut calories and fat by buying turkey bacon.
I always oven-bake my bacon to get that great crunch, but, I don't preheat the oven first. By starting the bacon in a cold oven, you're allowing the gradual heat to melt the fat off the bacon before the high heat begins to brown it.
Always drain cooked bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Be sure to take extra paper towels and blot the top of the bacon, so virtually no excess grease remains.
Bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin with red wine sauce recipe
Hello, protein! Thanks for the antioxidants, wine! This dish is chock-full of flavor but perfect for maintaining a healthy diet. Try pairing it with mashed cauliflower and wilted spinach.
1-1/2 cups red wine
3 cloves garlic
1-3/4 cups beef broth
1-1/4 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 slices center-cut bacon
4 (1-inch thick) beef tenderloin steaks
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 tablespoon flour
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
To prepare the sauce, combine the first five ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and then whisk in the tomato paste. Bring ingredients to a simmer over medium heat and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
While the sauce is reducing, tightly wrap one slice of bacon around each steak and secure with a toothpick. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on both sides of each steak and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.
To prepare the steaks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the steaks, cooking 2 minutes on each side or until brown. Remove the steaks from the pan, set the skillet aside, and place the steaks on a baking sheet.
Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until your desired degree of doneness, which can be measured with a meat thermometer. For rare steak, cook until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F; for medium rare, 125 degrees F; for medium, 130 degrees F.
Remove any extra grease from the skillet then add 1 tablespoon butter and the shallots. Saute over medium heat until the shallots soften. Add the flour and stir until combined. Add the reduced sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer; stir until thickened. Remove the garlic cloves and thyme and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Remove the toothpicks from the steaks, plate them, then spoon some of the sauce over each.
Braised pork and apple stew recipe
Get the pan nice and hot again after cooking the bacon. Then, keep the heat high when you add the pork, onion and remaining veggies. That heat will brown the ingredients, adding both color and flavor. Without that color, your stew will look a little dull. And the flavors won't be nearly as robust.
8 slices of center-cut bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider
4 small red potatoes, quartered
1 cup baby carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 apples (your favorite variety), cored and cut into 8 wedges each
3 tablespoons honey-Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the bacon and render until slightly crisp. Add the onion and pork. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until nicely colored.
Add flour, stir to form a roux, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple cider, potatoes, carrots and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add apples and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Stir in mustard and rosemary and serve.
David Venable is QVC's resident foodie and cookbook author.