By Todd Heberlein, Chef, Volante Farms, Needham MA. A few months ago, we got a whole lamb from Ellen Raja. I have broken down many whole pigs before (we get them from Brambly Farm), but never a lamb. I had ideas for most of it, but I couldn't decide what to do with the belly. So what the heck, I decided to make bacon out of it.
The belly was fatty, and the meat was out of this world! It wasn't very big, and I didn't know what I would do with it after I made it, but I wanted to try. Once I tasted it, I knew I had to get other people to try it; it was really good. But how?
It was a Sunday morning, so I thought I would try a breakfast sandwich. I made some spicy braised kale, added an egg, aged provolone, and stuffed it in a bagel. From this point, I put a picture up on Facebook and told people about it. After about 2 hours, we sold all 12. I was so happy!
One of the employees was so excited to try it because he can't eat regular bacon, and he asked me to make him some for Passover. Why not? Cooking, eating, it's all about having fun! Enjoy.
For the lamb “bacon”:
Ingredients 2 pounds lamb belly 3/4 cup kosher salt 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper 1 tablespoon cracked fennel seed 1 tablespoon cracked coriander
Preparation Mix spices and coat the lamb completely. Set on a rack inside a pan and place in the refrigerator for 3 days, turning over after the first day.
Place the lamb in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to get the mix off. Pat dry. We used a smoker and cooked it for 2 hours. (For this part, follow directions for your own smoker for bacon, just shave off about an hour).
For the sandwiches:
Ingredients Olive oil 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon chopped pickled cherry bomb peppers (we make a big batch of these when we are harvesting them in the summer), but any kind will work 1 bunch kale, stems discarded, leaves chopped 1 tablespoon cider vinegar 1/2 cup apple cider Salt and pepper 6 eggs 12 slices aged provolone 6 bagels or 12 slices crusty bread
Preparation Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and chilies and cook for 30 seconds. Add kale and vinegar and cook until the vinegar has almost evaporated. Add cider and salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer until kale is tender, about ten minutes. Drain and keep warm.
Slice bacon and arrange on a sheet tray. Place in the oven to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Keep warm.
Using a griddle or saute pan, cook the eggs (over-easy, please!).
Toast the bagels or bread in the oven.
Lay out bottom layer of the bagels or bread, place a slice of cheese on top. Place a small amount of kale down, then 3-4 slices of bacon.
Add the egg, and the other slice of cheese. Place the other slice of bagel or bread on top.
Grab some extra napkins, a cup of joe, and get busy!