So charcutepalooza! What is it? Well, a year of meat. Details can be found here: Mrs. Wheelbarrow but basically it is a year of kitchen adventures based on recipes in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman.
Bloggers from around the country have embarked upon the challenge. Most, in fact, started off in January with duck prosciutto. But given the craziness of my month, I started this month with the very simple homemade bacon. Simple as in I walked 1/2 a block to my local butcher, Drewe's, told them what I was up to, they sorted through their pork bellies and found one they considered the best for the project. I then walked the 1/2 block back home, covered my pork with pink salt, put it in a large plastic bag and added some maple and black pepper for flavor. The bag then went in my fridge to be turned every day or so. After a week, I took it out of the fridge and roasted it in the oven. After it cooled slightly, I sliced it and put it in the freezer for future projects. Active work time? Maybe 10 minutes or so.
My first use of the bacon was in a frittata with my favorite eggs from Omnivore Books and onions from my Mariquita Mystery Box.
Today I was slightly more ambitious and made black bean soup with some beautiful Rancho Gordo beans, more veggie box items and some peppers from the Ferry Building.
Black Bean and Homemade Bacon Soup
1 lb Rancho Gordo Midnight beans, soaked overnight
6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
3 spring onions chopped
1 bunch green garlic chopped
5 mixed peppers, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Cook beans in liquid of choice until tender.
In a large pan, saute bacon until it is cooked, but still somewhat soft. Add onions, green garlic, and peppers. Cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add parsley. Add beans and stock or water. Simmer for several hours. Perhaps even make a cake. At this point you can puree half or all of the soup in a blender or serve as is.
By the way, while the soup was simmering, K and I made a cake. Note happy child and creative frosting job!