- Yield: 1 quart
Smoked Tomato Sauce with Red Curry Bacon
Recipe courtesy of James Allen, Executive Chef, Blackthorn Club, Jonesborough, Tenn.
- For Tomato Sauce
- ripe tomatoes - 6, quartered
- Vidalia onion - 1, sliced
- garlic cloves - 3
- olive oil - 2 Tbsps.
- sherry vinegar - 1 Tbsp.
- packed basil - 1/2 cup
- salt - to taste
- pepper - to taste
- For Red Curry Bacon
- slab pork belly - 1 5lb.
- ground white pepper - 2 Tbsps.
- garam masala - 2 Tbsps.
- crushed red pepper - 1 Tbsp.
- dried basil - 1 Tbsp.
- dried French thyme - 1 Tbsp.
- curry powder - 1 Tbsp.
- turmeric - 1 Tbsp.
- habanero powder - 1 tsp.
- red curry paste - 2 6oz. jars
- sriracha - 1/3 cup
- kosher salt - 1 cup
- prague powder - 3 tsps. (pink curing salt)
- brown sugar - 1 cup
Chef's Note: Chef Allen built his own smoker, using a six-inch hotel pan lined with aluminum foil. He recommends making two piles of desired wood chips where the flames from the burners will line up.
For Tomato Sauce:
- In a perforated hotel pan, place the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Cover and turn the burners on high until you see smoke coming from the lid, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Smoke the tomatoes about 15 minutes, or until the edges turn brown. (NOTE: Don’t smoke them any longer, or it will result in a taste “that resembles chewing a burnt cigar,” Chef Allen says.)
- Place the smoked tomato, onion and garlic into a blender and puree. Add the oil, vinegar and basil and pulse until the basil is incorporated.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- For a thicker sauce, a cornstarch slurry works well and is gluten-free.
For Red Curry Bacon:
- Combine all ingredients, except for the pork belly, in a bowl and mix. Once combined, spread evenly over the pork belly and wrap tightly.
- Leave in the cooler for 14 days.
- Rinse off the belly and smoke at 225º F for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until internal temperature is 150º F. Cool, then cook.
- To make bacon bits, dice the slab into ¼-inch cubes and render down until crispy and dark. Drain and keep at room temperature.
- Arrange the sauce on a plate with vegetables (pattypan squash and baby zucchini are two that work very well) that have been steamed until tender, then tossed in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with red curry bacon bits.