- 1½ kg smoked bacon collar joint, soaked overnight if needed (see tip)
- 1 small pack rosemary, leaves picked and very finely chopped
Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…
- 1 onion
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 20 cloves
The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety…
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 carrot, halved
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…
- 2 celery sticks, halved
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- 1 garlic bulb, halved through the equator
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- For the sauce 50g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 25g plain flour
- 300ml bacon stock (use the cooking liquid from the bacon collar)
- 6 tbsp chopped parsley
One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…
First, open up the collar of bacon to season it with the rosemary. To do this, remove any string that’s been used to tie the meat, then use a knife to carefully run along the natural seams of the muscles, being careful not to cut all the way through to the other side – you are just trying to make some incisions in the joint, not cut all the way through it. Open it out as much as you can and rub the rosemary all over the exposed meat, then fold the bacon back onto itself. Tie securely with 3 pieces of butcher’s twine, spaced about 2cm apart.
Put the joint in a very large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Pour the water away and cover with fresh cold water. Stud the onion with the cloves, then add to the pan along with the bay leaves, carrot, celery, garlic and peppercorns. Bring back up to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2-2 hrs. Leave to cool and rest in the stock for at least 30 mins. Don’t discard the stock, as you’ll need it for the sauce.
To make the sauce, strain 300ml of the bacon stock from the pan into a jug. Melt half the butter in a small pan, then whisk in the flour until it has formed a paste. Cook for 2 mins, then slowly add the bacon stock, whisking all the time. When you have added all the stock, let it bubble for a further 4-5 mins. Turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining butter, then stir in the parsley. Remove the bacon collar from the pan to a board or serving plate. Thickly slice and serve with black pudding mash.
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Ask your butcherThis joint, from the shoulder of the pig, is a cheap cut, making top-quality meat really affordable. As it’s not often cooked these days, it’s best to give your butcher a few days’ notice so you can be sure they’ll have it for you. Modern curing methods mean you probably won’t need to soak the joint to remove excess salt, but check with your butcher – if in doubt, it’s better to soak it. To do this, place in a large container, cover with cold water and leave overnight in the fridge. Remove and rinse under cold water before cooking. If you don’t feel confident opening out the joint, as in step 1 of the recipe, ask your butcher to do this for you.