This is an unusual recipe and to make it you need to prepare in advance. First of all, you will need to braise the bacon in the oven for a long time and then press it overnight. But be sure your efforts will pay off – your friends will be surprised by this unconventional roast.
FOR THE BACON
- 1kg bacon
- 1 big onion
- 1 carrot
- A few celery stalks
- ½ bottle white wine
- Pinch of fennel seeds
- A few bay leaves
FOR THE PEARL BARLEY
- 0,5kg pearl barley
- 1l chicken broth
- 100g pecorino cheese
- 200ml wine
- Handful of parsley
1. It is better if you use bacon which consists of 2/3 parts of meat and 1/3 part of fat. Clean the bacon and make some small cuts but don’t cut the whole way through the meat. Season with salt and fry in a pan on a low heat, skin-side down until some fat is released.
2. Cut the onion, carrot and celery into cubes. In a deep baking tray, where you will braise the bacon, layer the vegetable cubes. If you wish, you can fry them a bit in a pan beforehand. Place the bacon, skin-side up, on the vegetables, pour in the wine, sprinkle with fennel seeds, pepper and add the bay leaves. Cover with the baking paper so the bacon won’t stick to the foil, which must fully cover the baking tray. Heat the baking tray together with the bacon on a stove-top briefly until wine starts to boil, then transfer the tray into the pre-heated oven at 150° C for 6 hours.
3. Press the braised bacon. Cover two baking trays with the baking paper and press the bacon between them. You can use a pot full of water or canned vegetables as weights to press it. Place the pressed bacon into a fridge (during winter time, you can use a balcony) for at least 6 hours.
4. Divide braised and pressed bacon into portions and fry on all sides in a pre-heated pan on a medium heat. Leave the skin-side to fry last, fry until crisp. Then transfer the fried bacon into the hot oven to warm evenly.
5. Prepare the pearl barley. Firstly, finely chop the vegetables which were braising with the bacon, then fry in the butter. Slightly fry the uncooked pearl barley as well, then slowly pour in the wine, broth and simmer stirring constantly. When the pearl barley is cooked, add the cheese and season with parsley.
6. Spoon the pearl barley onto a serving plate and top it up with a piece of bacon.