Cafe Pasquale's Red Chile and Sugar Cured Bacon

by Sally Witham (from Cowboys & Indians (magazine))

Serves 4.

Preheat oven to 300F. Mix chile powder and sugar in shallow bowl. Bury each slice of bacon in the chile and sugar mixture and rub both sides to make sure it adheres well.

Lay the bacon on parchment paper or waxed paper on a cookie sheet with a rim. Strips may be left flat or twisted 2--3 times.

Bake 30 minutes without turning. Always transfer candied bacon using tongs; the hot sugar can easily burn your fingers.

Nan's modifications. I used chipotle powder and a good dash of Emeril's Essence with my added ingredients of rosemary, onion powder and roasted garlic chunks, instead of the plain red.

I used the coarses Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi I found at Whole Foods. "Sugar in the Raw" also works. You can add regular brown sugar but I find it clumps up where the raw sugar stays separate. Makes for a better crunch, too.

Instead of rubbing the bacon with the mixture, I pressed the bacon slices into the mixture along their length on both sides. Believe me, you don't have to rub this stuff in. Pressing the bacon in it coats it just fine. If you feel the adherence is light, then sprinkle some of the loose sugar mixture on top of the bacon after placing it on the waxed paper on the pan. Any really over the top extra will bubble off around the bacon as it cooks.

Instead of parchment paper, I used a silpat. (I have used waxed paper too, since and it works just great.) I did have some waxed paper on the plate the bacon went onto, though, because it really is sticky like crazy.

Lacking tongs, you can lift the cooling bacon (don't let it cool all the way down, but some or all the molten sugar will slurp off!) using two forks. Lay on waxed paper, layer any extra layers with more waxed paper inbetween and on top before covering dish with foil.

You can freeze the cooked bacon after it cools down, again in-between waxed paper layers, make sure there is a layer of the waxed paper on the ends. Then you can slip them into a baggie, remove as much air as you can and freeze away. I'd not leave it over 2-3 months.