“Women belong in the kitchen. Men belong in the kitchen. Everyone belongs in the kitchen. There’s bacon in the kitchen.”
Comfort Food at its Finest!
As many of you know I divide my time in food writing between here and Village Living Magazine. I’ve been with them almost from their beginning and am so proud to be on the team of a truly wonderful and rapidly growing young magazine.
Recently they relocated their offices to a spot which includes not only a larger studio but also a kitchen! Imagine what plans I have in store for future issues! I popped down to visit shortly after they took possession and was absolutely thrilled with the neighbourhood as well as the studio space. It’s located in an eclectic part of the city in which you will find longstanding Mom & Pop shops, fabulous little rabbit warren-like hardware stores, gorgeous interior design stores, new and vintage jewelry stores and workshops as well as clothing stores with decidedly off-the-path style. Most importantly, however, is the plethora of diverse restaurants.
It’s in this neighbourhood that I’ve discovered my new FAVOURITE restaurant! We stumbled upon Côte de Bœuf on Lower Ossington one Saturday afternoon and fell instantly for every single aspect of the place; the size, design and vibe, the cute little woven shopping bags hanging at the front door for your use – the whole concept of what’s happening there combines for a memorable experience. Inspired by the butcher shops of Paris, Côte de Bœuf is a wine bar/locally sourced butcher shop and food store.
Each menu item tempting and the friendly and unpretentious service are highlights worth the visit alone. The few high top tables and bar seating provide the foreground while the entire south wall showcases their food products for sale. Cheese, pork rillettes, organic eggs, mustards, creative and unusual sauces and double smoked bacon to name only a few, and that’s not even touching on the front window/walk-in butcher fridge! I love this place… honestly, it’s how I imagine heaven.
It’s the double smoked bacon that forms the basis for my praise, adoration, and is the backbone of this dish. Good bacon is worth investing in. I cannot state that loudly enough. Bacon is praise-worthy at the worst of times – at the best, it’s capable of rendering even the most verbose among us speechless puddles of porcine pleasure. I highly recommend you source yourself something of similar heavenly quality before embarking on this dish.
It’s simple, old-fashioned rib-sticking goodness in a cast iron pot. Serve it with potatoes, rice, egg noodles or just a spoon. Super simple as much of it can be made ahead and reheated at your convenience. I made the meatballs one day, tightly wrapped and refrigerated them and made the rest of the dish the next day. No reason in the world you couldn’t make them and freeze them in fact.
My menu suggestion for this week is a bit of a teaser and for that I do (sort of) apologize. I served it with a lovely potato dish inspired by an Irish friend who has described this dish to me many times with great loving reverence. Stay tuned for that recipe next week!
Wine pairing: Here are GK’s suggestions for this glorious hug in a cast iron pot. “Comfort food needs comfort wine. Chateau Neuf de Pape or another big Rhone wine! You might also like this with a zinfandel.”
Enjoy & Namaste!
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- ½ cup parsley, rough chopped
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- FOR THE GRAVY:
- 4 slices thick slab bacon
- 2 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 heaping TBSP flour, whole wheat flour is fine
- 3 - 4 cups beef broth, heated
- Ground black pepper
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- Combine all ingredients for meatballs, roll into about 20 meatballs
- Brown in a bit of olive oil
- Remove to separate plate
- FOR THE GRAVY
- Sauté mushrooms in a pan with NO fat until golden brown, set aside
- In the same pan you cooked meatballs in, cook bacon slabs until golden brown and fat is rendered
- Drain off all but about 3-4 TBSP bacon fat, remove bacon and crumble. Oover medium high heat add flour, whisking all the while until a thick paste forms
- Slowly and while whisking the entire time add heated beef broth until you have achieved the consistency you desire.
- Add mushrooms, bacon and meatlballs
- Cover and cook over low heat, stirring OFTEN until meatballs are cooked through