It is that recipe swap time of month again! Christianna from Burwell General Store's monthly choice of recipe from her vintage cookbook had gotten all of us recipe swappers excited and into our kitchens whipping up different twists. This month's recipe is called Hot Slaw....I have to say I looked at this with partially squeezed eyes using peripheral vision. I audibly let out a quick 'Hm?' Hot dressing on hot cabbage?
So I brought it up the situation with my mom. And to my pleasant surprise, she told me that this is a common dish served in Cincinnati...with the addition of bacon. Ahah. My roots knew hot slaw. She had me at bacon. As many vegetarian converts agree, bacon was my trasitional food back into the land of carnivore. I was 'veg' for about nine years before I started having dreams about bacon. BLTs. Pancakes and bacon. Crispy bacon by itself. I would wake up asking myself 'Did I eat bacon?' 'Should I tell someone about these dreams?' 'Why am I not eating bacon?'
So after a few more of these dreams I confessed to my roommate M, who was also a 'veg' that I was considering crossing over the tracks. To my delight, she had been considering the same thing. So hand in hand we joined the community of meat eaters and haven't looked back. My brother still likes to remind me that these slices of bacon were once animals. True as it is, I just couldn't deny what my subconscious was integrating into my dreams.
So I transformed the original vegetarian version of the hot slaw by sprinking it with a tad of saltiness from our good friend bacon. This bumped up the heartiness of the dish and almost made it a meal in itself. M and M (girlfriends, not the multi-colored treat) came over for a progressive dinner of homemade hummus with homemade pita chips and carrots and wine. Followed by slaw and broccoli with warm bacon dressing. Followed by gnocchi with pesto. Followed by peanut butter cookies with chocolate, coconut and homemade vanilla whipped cream. Can you tell I was trying to clear out the cabinets and refrigerator?
I experimented with adding the dressing to steamed broccoli as you can see in the picture below. We all agreed that we actually liked it better on the broccoli versus the cabbage because it soaked up the dressing a little better. So try either vegetable...or branch out and try a different one. Either way, you can't go wrong with bacon infused dressing.
Everyone in our swap group has a different story to tell about the cooking adventure leading to the recipe. So please check out each one!
Slaw with Warm Bacon Dressing
Adapted from Epicurious.com
Yields about 4 servings
Out of habit, I accidentally poured out all of the bacon drippings after pulling the pieces out of the pan. After I promptly cleaned the pan, I could have hit myself on the forehead with it. The bacon drippings are supposed to flavor the dressing...Ack! Oh well, less saturated fat. So as you make this, you can either pour out the drippings, or use some of them, or all of them. Just be sure to replace them with plenty of olive oil. This is why I have given a range for the oil. The amount can be determined by how much bacon dripping you choose to use.
1/2 head of purple cabbage, sliced very thinly
2 slices of good quality thick bacon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup raisins
4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
First begin by taking the half of purple cabbage and carefully slice it into the thinnest pieces possible. I used a big serrated bread knife and that worked out quite beautifully. In big handfuls, place into a large bowl. Pinch a bit of salt into the cabbage and massage it a little to soften it. We want it to keep it's crisp quality, but allow it some time to relax just a little. Set this aside while preparing the dressing.
Heat a medium to large skillet on mediun high heat. In a dangling manner, place the bacon into the heated pan. Allow to cook and crispen enough on both sides so that it will easily break apart later. With tongs, take the cooked bacon out of pan and let it dry off on a paper towel lined plate.
Here you can either pour out a little bit of the grease and add in olive oil, or keep all the grease in and add less olive oil. Chef's choice here. Lower the heat to medium and add in the garlic and raisins. Cook just until the garlic begins to lightly brown, just a minute or two. Add in the vinegar, a little more olive oil, salt and pepper and simmer for a few minutes. Crumble the bacon into the dressing. Carefully taste. If it needs an addition of something, do so now.
Turn off burner and pour the warm dressing over the relaxed cabbage. Toss well. Serve immediately as an appetizer, alongside a nice piece of grilled chicken or as a slaw on a grilled portabello mushroom sandwich.