It’s Oscars time and I don’t always do seasonal posts but this time (for whatever reason) I felt the inspiration. I considered doing a list of recipes that are each shoe-horned into representing one of the nominees for the Best Picture Academy Awards.
After I finished chuckling at the thought of the outrage at War Horse Tartare I put this idea aside. If that’s your thing though see the Serious Eats Punny Oscars Menu for 2012 (it’s horsemeat free).
Instead I’ve compiled some ideas from previous posts for what you should bring to the Oscars party you’re going to tonight.
- Buffalo Chicken Dip: I made this one originally for a Super Bowl party but I think it would stand up just as well in the hoitier toitier gatherings.
- Deep-Fried Pickles with Cheese and Bacon: Along the same lines, these will be at home at all but black tie affairs.
- Beer Cooler Chili: The timing is running tight on this one for tonight but any food table for a large gathering is well-served when anchored with chili. My recipe cooks the meat in a beer cooler (naturally).
- Punch: Is the first and the last word on party drinks. This recipe is stiff enough that no one will be tempted to spike it.
- Bacon Blondies: A Food With Legs classic these will definitely cover the dessert category.
All great ideas I’d say but this year I’m slightly working another old FWL recipe. With some minor adjustments I’m making Porky Pop, or bacon caramel corn, this time with peanuts and walnut pieces.
Bacon Caramel Corn with Peanuts and Walnuts
Adapted from Derek Barr’s (of Chocolate Barr’s Candies in Stratford, ON) recipe for Porky Pop.
Sweet and salt are excellent partners and the cooked sugar flavours of the caramel are well-balance by the bacon’s savour. Popcorn does a great job of filling space.
- 230 g granulated white sugar
- 140 g brown sugar
- 90 g corn syrup
- 230 g roasted peanuts
- 230 g walnut pieces
- 150 g streaky or face (I used a piece of lightly-smoked Berkshire jowl this time) bacon, cut into small chunks and cooked until slightly crispy
- 60 g popped popcorn (conveniently the popped stuff weighs exactly what it does in its un-popped state)
- pinch kosher salt
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 30 g rendered bacon fat
- 90 g water
- Bring the water, salt, and three sweet ingredients to a boil in a heavy, large pot. Large is critical because you want to avoid having this splash or boil over at all costs. Once boiling add the butter and bacon fat and use a wooden spoon (wood is an excellent insulator) to stir in the fashion described in my original post.
Preparation is essential for this recipe even more than others. Have all ingredients and tools assembled before you start. You do not want to be searching frantically for your Silpat while your home fills with the acrid smell of burning sugar.
- When the syrup reaches 260°F (as measured by your trusty candy thermometer) add the peanuts and at 285°F add the walnuts. At 300°F it is time to add the pre-cooked ingredients (popcorn and bacon) and pour the porky pop onto the Silpat-line baking sheet. After the second batch of nuts go in it may be tough to stir and use the candy thermometer (or even use the thermometer at all) so you may be best estimating the time it will take to reach the 300°F based on your experience so far and taking into account how the temperature will drop when the walnuts go in.
- When turning the candy out onto the baking sheet the idea is to spread it out so that the popcorn is evenly coated and so that it is broken into bite-size pieces. Err on the side of safety.
- Stored in a large Ziploc bag my particular batch was delicious for four days.