Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Monday, 18 March 2013

For Connoisseurs - Bacon, Leek and Sweetcorn Pie

The cynics amongst us might think that themed weeks are a little 'meh' and spend the time wondering what the point is of making a week out of something when let's be honest, a day would be quite enough. However, I am not a cynic and some things are worth a week of extoling their virtues, so most definitely I would say that a week devoted to bacon is a wonderful thing. This week is 'Bacon Connoisseurs Week' which is a week to raise awareness of the brilliance and versatility of bacon as an ingredient, from the crispy streaky that you put on a slice of doorstop white bread for the ultimate bacon butty, to the bacon joint, simmered to create the most wonderful stock and even more wonderful soup. It's hearty, honest, unpretentious food and despite the keenness of the health lobby to point out how we should be careful about the amount of processed meat, sausages, etc. we eat, I still fervently believe that a little bit of what you fancy does you good. Bacon does you good. Is there anything more instantly gratifying than the smell of bacon cooking? I don't think so.  
And if we are to be more conscious about just what we consume, then all the more reason to be selective in what we actually buy. A little bit of bacon goes a long way and the purchase of a quality bacon such as something endorsed by the Red Tractor label really makes the difference to the finished dish and a difference to the welfare of livestock in this country. Food for thought, literally.
So, to celebrate Bacon Connoisseurs Week, I have recreated a dish by Fay Ripley, who is the ambassador of 'Bacon Connoisseurs Week' Her recipe for bacon, leek and sweetcorn pie uses dry cured gammon steaks to flavour and intensify the filling and the addition of leek, sweetcorn and cream cheese produces an unctuous and satisfying pie which even Finn liked! And Finn, as you may know, is hard to please.
I hope that you are inspired to look at good quality, dry cured bacon as a basis for a myriad of dishes that could feed yourself and your family ethically but economically. Here's the recipe:
Bacon, Leek and Sweetcorn Pie, adapted from the recipe by Fay Ripley
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad
My adaptations in red
2 dry cured smoked bacon or gammon steaks (about 200g each in weight), cut into cubes (You could also use lardons, or pancetta)
15ml (1tbsp) Oil
2 leeks, washed, halved and sliced
200g low fat/light cream cheese
325g can of sweetcorn, drained (alternatively use 260g of frozen sweetcorn)
500g ready made puff pastry (I actually used six sheets of filo pastry - Lola and Finn are fans of the texture of filo)
Milk and egg, whisked, for glaze (or melted butter if you decide to use filo)
Black pepper – to taste
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7, 200˚C, 400˚F.
Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the bacon and leeks and cook until the bacon has changed colour and the leeks are beginning to soften.
Add the cream cheese and combine together well.  Heat through and allow to thicken slightly for about 2-3 minutes.  Taste and check for seasoning - you shouldn't need salt because of the saltiness of the bacon. Add the black pepper and sweetcorn then place in a large 1 litre/2 pint pie dish.
Roll out the pastry to a size that will roughly cover the dish – decorate the edge with a pattern (a good effect is to use the edge of a small round glass) and if you wish cut out shapes to decorate the top of the pie.  Brush pastry with the milk and egg glaze. (If you decide to use filo, use some melted butter to brush over each layer of filo - I used six layers in total. I seasoned the top with salt and black pepper)
Place in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and well risen.
Serve with vegetables and enjoy!

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