On Cooking Southern: Pigskin Pigout for Super Bowl Sunday

SOUTHERNISM OF THE WEEK

When pigs fly: Reference to a mythical moment in future time, when something that currently is not possible comes to pass… which it sometimes does. Think Memphis barbecue shipped globally, or the Cubs winning the pennant, or Dems and GOP collaborating…

PIGSKIN PIGOUT – IT’S TOUCHDOWN TIME WITH BACON APPETIZERS

Super Bowl Sunday is all about football — and food.
Super Bowl Sunday is all about football — and food.

I know the bacon-in-everything food craze has diminished, but that doesn’t obliterate the perennial popularity of bacon-enhanced finger foods and appetizers. After all, for us carnivores, everything tastes better with bacon.

What better time to indulge in a fetish for bacon than on Super Bowl Sunday, when properly inflated pigskin is flying through the air?

This week I make no apologies for my tendency to over-focus on a topic. It’s all about the pig. The guests are bringing the pulled pork and salad. I’m making all bacon-themed appetizers. I’ll probably even make bacon bowls for the salad.

BACON CRACKERS (BACON BOWTIES)

bowtiecrackers-DSCN9809These tasty crackers may be made either with brown sugar or Parmesan. I prefer the salty sweet of the brown sugar version. Make them a day ahead so the flavors can blend.

36 club-style butter crackers

12 slices of bacon, cut into thirds

Grated Parmesan cheese or light brown sugar

Place about 1 tsp of Parmesan or light brown sugar in the center of each cracker and wrap bacon back-to-front around the middle. Secure with a toothpick if needed. Place each prepped cracker on rack in baking pan. Bake at 250˚F for about 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve immediately or cool and store in tightly covered metal container.

BACON WRAPPED FINGERLING POTATOES

potatoes-DSCN979415 small fingerling potatoes (sometimes called steak roasters)

Bacon, cut into halves or thirds, depending on fingerling size (smaller is better)

1-oz pkg of ranch dressing mix

15 toothpicks

Non-stick cooking spray

Spray pan rack or grill with non-stick cooking spray. Soak toothpicks in water until ready to use. Preheat oven or outdoor grill to 350˚F. Wash and dry each potato.

Wrap a piece of bacon around each, securing ends with a toothpick. Sprinkle ranch dressing mix evenly on all sides of wrapped potatoes. Grill on direct heat for 20-25 minutes, turning twice; or place potatoes in oven grill pan on pan rack and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning twice. The potatoes will be done when bacon is crispy on all sides.

BACON CRESCENTS

8-oz pkg of cream cheese

8 T crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (abut 8 slices)

1/4 tsp Creole seasoning

1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c fine-grated white onion

2 T minced parsley

1 T whole or fat-free milk

2 (8-oz) pkgs refrigerator crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Mix first 7 ingredients until smooth. Separate the triangles of dough and cut each triangle lengthwise in half to double the quantity. Place a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture in the center of each triangle. Fold over the short point over the filling and then fold a long point over this. Roll toward the remaining point and tuck it underneath. Crimp sides if still open. Place each pocket, point-side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

BACON ROLLUPS

rollupassortment&crackers-DSCN979016-oz loaf of VERY FRESH white bread

8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 lb (16 oz) regular bacon, each slice cut in half

Toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Soak toothpicks in water until time to use. Cut crusts of bread slices and cut each slice in half horizontally. Spread each slice with cream cheese and roll up. Wrap a bacon slice around rolled bread and secure with a toothpick.

Bake in preheated oven in an 11-by-7 inch baking dish for bout 30 minutes, until bacon is no longer pink and bread is lightly browned.

RUMAKI (BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN LIVERS)

rumaki-DSCN9798This recipe adapts perfectly for scallops basted with lemon butter instead of chicken livers basted with Asian marinade. It was THE cocktail party recipe of the mid-20th century. It requires a bit of practice to wrap the livers in the bacon. Don’t give up!

1 c soy sauce

1/2 c light brown sugar

1 tsp ground ginger

16-oz container of chicken livers

8-oz can of sliced water chestnuts, drained

Strips bacon, cut into thirds

Toothpicks

Soak toothpicks in water to prevent from burning. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Rinse and drain the chicken livers. Cut each whole liver into thirds, discarding fibrous tissue.

Combine soy sauce, sugar and ginger in a medium bowl. Add the livers and water chestnuts. Toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Drain livers and chestnuts over another bowl, pouring the liquid into a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil on high heat, stirring. Remove from heat as soon as it reaches a rolling boil.

On a washable cutting board, top bacon slice with a piece of liver and top the liver with a water chestnut slice. Wrap bacon around the bacon and water chestnut, skewering with a toothpick. Place the skewered bundles on pan rack over foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, basting with the cooked marinade until all marinade is used. Remove from oven when bacon is evenly browned. Serve immediately.

SWEET ONION DIP

sweetoniondip-DSCN98352-3 T extra light olive oil

2 lb Vidalia, Texas, or Peruvian “sweet” onions, sliced into thin rings

8 oz light cream cheese, softened

1 c light sour cream

1 T red wine vinegar

1 lb thick-sliced bacon, crisp-cooked, crumbled

1 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, sauté about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cover for about 5 minutes. Continue simmering, stirring every few minutes until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop the caramelized onions.

Mix cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Reserve 1 tablespoon of crumbled bacon; stir remaining bacon, onions, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper into cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle top with reserved bacon.

Bake in chafing dish or for 20 minutes in oven preheated to 350˚F. Serve with toasted baguette slices or crackers. Tastes good served cold as well.

Laurie Triplette is the HottyToddy.com food guru and can be reached at ldtriplette@aol.com for all food emergencies.

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