2 January 2010

A Recipe for Maple Glazed Peameal Bacon with Potato Latkes a True Canadian Experience

Welcome to 2010!!!!
Maple Glazed Peameal Bacon with Potato Latkes

"This tree, which grows in our valleys, on our rocks...
grows fast, and when it is tall and strong,
does not fear storms and overcomes the North wind which is unable to shake it.
 The Maple is king of our forest;
it is the emblem of the Canadian people".

- Denis-Benjamin Viger

Welcome to 2010 and the beginning of a new decade. The upcoming year is full of possibilities we just need to take those roads untravelled and live each moment as it comes. I decided to bring in the New Year with some traditional and not so traditional Canadian dishes. I roasted some peameal bacon with a maple syrup glaze and fried up some potato latkes. The peameal bacon is lean and with very few calories...but not so much the latkes. They were a marriage made in heaven with a few slices of campari tomatoes and a Cranberry Mimosa. I personally think it was the perfect balance to usher in 2010!!!For dinner I went out for our traditional Chinese dinner with friends as I have done for the past 30 years on New Years Day no matter where I have lived across the country of Canada. This morning I am headed out for breakfast to a local hangout with L'il Burnt Toast and The Boy since L'il Burnt Toast is moving back to the coast for university.

I was born and spent the first 19 years of my life in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, where I ate peameal bacon weekly, if not daily. Mom would fry thin slices with some tomatoes and crumpets/pikelets at least once a week. It was THE breakfast staple along with porridge and potato scones. When I moved West peameal bacon was unheard of and was unavailable until one day I was delighted to find it at Costco, and now it is even available here at The Canadian Superstore for a lesser cost.

As with so many foods that we grew up with, the importance of this one goes way beyond the actual bacon itself and is one of those comfort foods we talk about so often. Peameal for me symbolizes breakfast around the table with the entire family, summer at the cottage in Ontario, and all that goes with it... long days, no school, new friends, and so on. I remember having Peameal Bacon Sandwiches at the fall fair, the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, the St. Jacobs Farmers Market, or at the beach at Wasaga. They would take a large hunk, anywhere from 2 to 3 pounds, and slice it not too thin and not too thick. They they would then grill it over medium heat so it stays just ever so pink in the center and the cornmeal coating and external fat would grill up crisply. Then they would serve it on a soft Kaiser roll slathered with mayonnaise, and topped with iceburg lettuce and slices of summer sun-ripened tomatoes.  Oh, and a few thin slices of Canadian cheddar would be acceptable too. Sheer heaven and such a wonderful foodie memory related to my childhood!!!!Seriously, all you have to do is talk to a couple Canadians and you start to realize that peameal bacon sandwiches, while pretty much unknown elsewhere, are about the equivalent up there of pastrami in Manhattan or cheese steaks in Philadelphia. The only Canadian food that outranks it in my books is Poutine!!!

Of course I am a lover of  bacon in all it's forms. The term bacon on its own refers generically to strip bacon from the belly meat of the pig, which is the most popular type of bacon sold in Canada as well. It is also not something I choose to eat too often being high in fat content, but it sure is delicious!!!!Back bacon comes from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. It is a very lean, meaty cut of bacon, with less fat compared to other cuts so therefore better for you so that you can consume it on a more regular basis. It has a ham-like texture. Most bacon consumed in the United Kingdom is back bacon which is probably why my own mom prefered this type of bacon as the best choice over any other to serve to her family (except of course my dad who has always been a vegetarian). It is also referred to as Irish bacon or Canadian Bacon.The term back bacon is again a generic term used interchangeably to describe either smoked or unsmoked back bacon. Peameal Bacon is a boneless cured pork loin rolled in cornmeal, not what is commonly known in the United States and elsewhere as "Canadian Bacon" which is basically a smoked ham...needless to say, the taste and texture of the two are totally different... but let's face it bacon of any kind is delicious.

Peameal Bacon is made from pork loins. They are trimmed of all the fat and the bones are removed. The term peameal comes from the ground yellow peas with which the bacon was originally coated around the 1920's. This ensured better curing and shelf life and avoided bacterial problems. Over the years this tradition was changed to cornmeal, due to the availability of corn.  Usually it is sliced and fried for breakfast but it is excellent baked whole as I did for this recipe. The cornmeal makes a crisp exterior and the meat, although quite lean, is particularly juicy, because of the curing process.

The recipe for the baked peameal bacon comes from one of our renowned chefs Christine Cushing and the latkes are based on a recipe from the White on Rice Couple.
**Maple Glazed Peameal Bacon with Potato Latkes**

3/4 cup  pure maple syrup
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1-1/2 lb. piece of peameal bacon, whole

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Gently boil maple syrup, mustard and thyme in a saucepan until reduced by almost half and thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Brush glaze over peameal and roast for about 30 –45 minutes, basting occasionally with glaze, until peameal is heated through. Transfer peameal to a large plate and let stand, loosely covered with foil, about 15 minutes. Slice peameal and serve with potato latkes.

Serves 4

**Potato Latkes**

4 medium potatoes, peeled
1/2 large sweet onion, diced into 1/4″ pieces
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tablespoon sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup + oil, preferably peanut oil, grape seed oil, or other high flash point oil

Line a bowl with several paper towels, then grate potatoes into bowl. Using more paper towels, squeeze out as much water from the potatoes as you can. After potatoes are as dry as you can get them, discard paper towels.

Add the onion, garlic, flour, salt, pepper, and eggs then stir to combine.

Heat a saute pan over medium to medium-high heat, add oil, then when oil is hot place large spoonfuls of potato mix into the pan. Flatten each pancake to approximately 1/2″ thick. Cook to a golden brown on one side (approx. 2-3 min.) then brown the other side. Remove and pat dry with paper towels. May be kept warm covered in a 300° oven.

As you cook each batch, stir the potato mix before spooning into pan and add more oil to pan if needed. Serve warm.

Makes about 12 - 4″ pancakes

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. This sounds like a wonderful breakfast. I've never tried pea meal bacon but I'm interested to try after reading your description.

  2. We used to find pea meal bacon from time to time, in the West, when I was younger. It is less fatty and I like that. But the latkes make up for it! Great breakfast!

  3. Lovely post and really a nice way to start 2010! Cheers!

  4. That looks delicious! A terrific combo!



  5. maple, mustard, thyme, and bacon? good googly moogly, i think you've stumbled upon the ultimate breakfast experience. delightful breakfast, val!

  6. That looks perfect Valli! Happy New Year!

  7. Happy New Year. I did a gammon on NY day with a treacle glaze- can't beat it

  8. Aha! I now understand where the term "Canadian bacon" comes from! Those peameal bacon sandwiches sound delicious Val. So does your glaze! happy new Year...here's to more foodie adventures.

  9. i've always wanted to make latkes, they sound so simple and savoury, so i will give your recipe a try soon

  10. Looks lovely!
    I've never heard of peameal bacon before - very interesting post.

  11. Looks and sounds delicious Val! I liked learning the history behind the peameal bacon and what it is.

  12. I do love peameal, or Canadian, or Back bacon - by whatever name,it's delicious.

    One of my favorite dinner recipes is "Portuguese Steak" which I love best when I can find peameal bacon. http://onceuponafeast.blogspot.com/2005/06/bife-porugusa-or-portuguese-steak.html

    And now I'm off to hunt for some and do it early in 2010.

    Wishing you and yours a delicious year filled with all things wonderful.

    Thanks for the great post.

  13. I've never heard of peameal bacon but we do have Canadian bacon here. It it the same? Great-looking dinner.

    Enjoy the time remaining with your daughter.

  14. Canadian Bacon found in the States is usually smoked which peameal bacon is not, it is only cured.I usually call that "American Canadian Bacon":D, but you never know it might be the same.

  15. Hello dear Bellini Valli
    i love the sweet glaze with meat !

    I wish you a very happy new year 2010 with many new cooking findings !! cheers from Pierre in Paris

  16. Lovely post, Val and Happy 2010 to you and Lil Burnt Toast!

    I love peameal bacon and wish we could get it here. BTW... you can make really good latkes baking them at 450 and just drizzling a bit of oil over them. It's my way I can afford them, health-wise. ;-)

  17. Yummy! These potatoes look delish!

  18. Thanks for the bacon lesson. There isn't much I don't love on a pig.

    Your latkes look wonderful. I wish mine would come out so good. I keep thinking my husband's grandmother would be disappointed in me because I just can't perfect the latke.

    Hope you have a very happy new year!

  19. This looks delicious! I've never had peameal bacon, so I'll have to keep an eye out for it (if they even have it here). With the latkes, this looks like one great meal. Happy 2010!

  20. Val, you should go see Cambridge after all these years...it's a lovely city.

    As you know, pea meal sandwiches are a must when going to St. Lawrence market...this is a marked improvment on them.

  21. It has been 4 years since I have been in Cambridge Peter. I always loved the masonic influence of the downtown buildings and the Grand River walkway. Reids Nut Shop is still there and the best little Mexican "hole-in-the wall" across the street.

  22. Thanks for the lesson - I'd never heard of this type of pork before. But frankly, with bacon, maple syrup and potatoe latkes, how can you go wrong?!


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