Berkshire Bacon Fried Rice

frice6frice10frice13Ah, home-cured bacon. The culinary gift that just keeps on giving. Once you start making your own bacon, the possibilities seem limitless. So much flavor, so many textures, so many ways to use it. You can use bacon as a main dish, an accent for salt and/or crunch, a sandwich ingredient, or just serve it for breakfast. And the fat adds flavor to anything you cook with. Good stuff.

frice2frice3And good stuff becomes great stuff if you use the right pork. Most pork belly will work for home cured bacon, and it will be much better than store-bought, packaged bacon. But if you spend a little more time and money you can order a Berkshire (sometimes called Kurabota) or Duroc pork belly from an artisan farmer. Not only are these pigs more humanely treated, but they taste a whole lot better than “industrial” pigs. While there are a number of artisan breeds, we prefer the sweet, dark and meaty Berkshire for bacon and barbecue.

frice4frice5Making bacon with Berkshire pork is no different from using regular pork, we just follow our standard bacon recipe. But because this pork is so sweet we prefer to very lightly smoke with applewood or simply finish in the oven. The pork has enough flavor to stand well on its own. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a cook is leave the ingredients alone.

frice1So what do we do with our Berkshire bacon? Actually, we sell some to friends. It helps cover costs and keeps us from eating too much. And we do serve bacon for breakfast on weekends. But usually we cook with bacon as an accent. And there are few better ways to use bacon than in fried rice. So simple, so easy, but soooo good.

For this dish we adapted a recipe from “Breakfast for Dinner” a fun cookbook that, not surprisingly, uses breakfast-related ingredients for dinner. While sometimes a real stretch (yes, fried rice has bacon and egg so there is some “breakfast” there…sorta), the recipes are fun and supply some good ideas. That’s enough for us.

frice11The recipe combines fried brown rice with a mixture of bacon, onion, frozen peas, green onion, a little mirin (or water), garlic and ginger. You can top with a fried egg (our preference) or scramble the eggs and mix them in. Garnish with some carrot ribbons, green onion or sesame and then season with soy and Sriracha. Then you are in business…

frice12How does it taste? Soft and crunchy rice with nutty flavors, crisp, sweet and salty bacon, savory onion, garlic and ginger, sweet earthy peas and rich eggs. Hard to go wrong here. Just be sure to make your own bacon, or use the best artisan bacon you can find. You won’t be disappointed.

Berkshire Bacon Fried Rice:

(Adapted from “Breakfast for Dinner”)

Notes Before You Start:

  • If you don’t cure your own bacon, look for slab bacon or artisan bacon that is meaty and lightly smoked with applewood. Hickory-smoked bacon will work here but the flavor will dominate the dish.
  • We use left over brown jasmine rice in this dish, as the nutty flavors work well. But any long-grain rice (or really any leftover rice) will work. You need day old rice for this dish- as it will not turn mushy when cooked.

What You Get: Tasty, easy fried rice at home. What else do you need?

What You Need: No special equipment required, and you may have the ingredients in your fridge right now.

How Long? If you already have the rice cooked, about 20 minutes. Anytime dish.

Ingredients:

(Serves 4-6)

  • 2-3 cups day-old cooked brown jasmine rice (or leftover rice)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced or cut into lardons
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (or water)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced into ribbons
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Soy sauce, to taste
  • Sriracha, or hot sauce, to taste

Assemble:

  1. Place a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until slightly crisp and the fat renders. Drain all but a tablespoon of the fat from the pan, and reserve. Add the onions and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Then add the peas, green onion, and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes than add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently (don’t burn the garlic). Add the mirin, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and our the mixture into a large bowl.
  2. Place the pan back on the stove over medium-high heat and add the reserved bacon fat. You should have 2-3 tablespoons of fat (add oil if needed). Spread the rice in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown crispy spots form, 6-8 minutes. When done, add the rice to the bacon mixture and stir to combine.
  3. In another pan, over medium-low heat, cook the eggs until the whites set but the yolks are still runny (or to your preference).
  4. To serve, place the rice mixture in a bowl. Add an egg to the top and garnish with the carrot ribbons. Season with soy sauce and/or Sriracha. Serve.
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26 thoughts on “Berkshire Bacon Fried Rice

  1. We bought a pig for the freezer this summer. We have LOVED it. Just did a roast tonight as a matter of fact. I got my pork belly uncured and it was sliced into one # packets. Next time I want it whole. But I’ve been doing a wet cure from Whole Hog cookbook. I was able to avoid, for now, the pink salt- which has got me doing all kinds of research. Like maybe it’s not the devil after all. I’m interested to experiment with powdered celery which has high naturally occurring nitrates. This is why it’s in all of the Hempler “no added nitrates” products.
    I’m also curious to get my cholesterol tested to see if island grown meats are keep me on the charts. We ate so much bacon and sausage this summer! cheers… wendy

    • I don’t really want to know my cholesterol…..;-)

      FWIW, we took a hard look at nitrates / pink salt and decided that the data didn’t show any real risks and that many of our veggies (like celery) are already nitrate-rich. So we use it.

      But a simple 24 hours salt/sugar cure of pork belly (finished in the oven momofuku style) is still great. Not as piquant as the full cure, but very rich and tasty.

    • It is good, and worth the effort. Believe it or not, we don’t really eat that much meat. But when we do, we want it to be really good. Home-cured bacon is REALLY good…

  2. Hi There – I just found (happily) your blog – Word Press suggested it to me! My husband and I had a farm in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec (Canada). I’m originally from Mass. and I’ve been living here once again for about eight years. I miss our farm, so I’m going to live vicariously through your lovely blog !!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the visit and I hope you enjoy the farm. (It’s halfway between farm and large garden- but we love it!)

      Thanks again for the visit and kind words!

      • I live in an old farmhouse but most of the land had been sold off bit by bit. I did grow vegetables – plus flowers – the first few years BUT I have up due to a pesty groundhog. He even ate all my little gourds one autumn… This year I really, really thought I’d gotten rid of him… but saw his fat little body waddling across my yard a few weeks ago. Darn! And he won’t even go near my Have-a-Heart trap….

      • Ah, varmints…..We fight off gophers all the time. Usually using passive things like wire mesh. But we have trapped a few. They actually ate the roots off one of fig trees and it fell down…such is living with nature.

      • I had no idea they could actually eat the roots of a tree. I knew that pigs can totally clear land and I’ve heard of some farmers using them for that. But groundhogs…. who knew !?

  3. There is a wonderful deli in our town that makes absolutely fabulous beef bacon. It’s not the same fat content as pork bacon, but you can still get a few drippings.

    This recipe sounds sooo tasty. I’m going to try this with the beef bacon. Mmmm! I can almost taste it now!

  4. I’m all in favor to have breakfast for dinner .. eat full English a couple at least once per week as dinner. Just love it and this I know I will love too. Going to have fried rice today – but with chicken … so this has to wait a couple of days. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  5. Please stress that the leftover rice must be day old (refrigerated or left on the stove) so it loses some of its moisture, otherwise you will end up with a sticky mess, not the fluffy dish you are looking for.

    I first had this dish in Bangkok at my favorite hotel. The fried rice with pork was so good, I asked if they could make it with bacon…heavenly.

    Also, consider a dash of oyster sauce, very Thai style. Also no peas or carrots, the Thais consider that American Fried Rice. But, it’s all good.

    My Asian wife makes this for me for breakfast often, one of my favorites.

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