Hild’s Mushroom Bacon Dish of Might
by Astrid Winegar
Tolkien fans will recognize this as the “Mighty Bacon Mushroom Dish” served by Farmer Maggot to the four hobbits. This is the ultimate comfort-food dish and would win a Top Chef challenge, if there ever were such a contest to invent the perfect hobbit dish…you never know; it could happen!
Hild’s Mushroom Bacon Dish of Might
1 quart plus 2 tablespoons water
1 pound potatoes, cut into ¾” chunks (peel or not; it depends what kind of potatoes you use)
¾ pound premium bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 – 1½ cups onion, cut into ¼” slivers
½ pound fresh mushrooms (cut them into ¼” slices or use whole buttons or halves)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
In a 5-quart deep skillet, combine the 1 quart water and the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain; don’t bother washing pan. In the same skillet, fry the bacon over rather high heat, stirring frequently and scraping up the brown bits, until it is thoroughly cooked, but still rather chewy, not too crispy. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat and place bacon on paper towels. Discard remaining fat (again, don’t bother washing pan). Add the bacon fat and butter to the pan and melt over high heat. Add the onions and potatoes and fry uncovered over high heat, stirring frequently, until the potatoes start browning at the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry another 2 minutes over high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper, and continue cooking over high heat until most of the liquid evaporates, another 1-2 minutes. Mix in the bacon and serve. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Serves 4.
As a sort of concession to the good-health-gods, I was going to say this serves 4-6, but who am I kidding? If you don’t serve anything with this and you have a bacon-loving companion (like my husband) who actually said, “This is the kind of food that makes me sad when I’m done eating it,” you’ll be lucky to serve 2 with a bit leftover. To me, this is quintessential fantasy food that would appeal to anyone who relates to dwarves or halflings. Yes, it is heavy on the bacon, but you wouldn’t eat it every day, would you? Serve a big salad with it, or pair it with any sort of vegetable side dish you like, then maybe you can feed 4.
Leftovers? Turn this into a breakfast: cook one or two eggs, any style. Sprinkle some shredded Cheddar cheese over the potatoes, microwave to heat and serve alongside your eggs. You could also mix some diced green chile, jalapeños, or salsa into the potatoes. Or: scramble one or two eggs and combine with your leftover potatoes. Wrap this up in a flour tortilla (you could even add some pinto beans to this…) and enjoy out of hand. Make it more substantial by setting this burrito on a plate, then smother it with salsa, red or green chile sauce, and cheese; heat in the microwave until the cheese has melted—now you’ll need a knife and fork. I live in New Mexico, and we live for hot stuff!
About the Author:
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which will soon be available on the Amazon Kindle. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all things Star Trek and Star Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides. She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. Her brand-new blog can be found at halflingsandmonsters.wordpress.com. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook; or go to @astridwinegar on Twitter.