Sara Swanson

World Food Championship winning bacon recipe – “Sweet Mystique”

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Chef Colleen Curley and her sous chef and son John applying finishing touches to "Sweet Mystique" at the 2016 World Food Championship. Photo courtesy of the Curley family.

Chef Colleen Curley and her sous chef and son John applying finishing touches to “Sweet Mystique” at the 2016 World Food Championship. Photo courtesy of the Curley family.

Current World Food Championships ‘Bacon Category’ 2016 champion and 1985 Manchester High School Graduate, Chef Colleen Curley has agreed to share her award winning recipe and the story behind her victory with Manchester Mirror readers.

Curley explained how the World Food Championship, the largest food sport competition in the US, works. Everyone competing in the Championships has won other cooking competitions all over the United States in order to qualify to compete. There are nine categories in the competition, BBQ, Burger, Bacon, Dessert, Seafood, Recipe, Steak, Sandwich and Chili, with up to 50 competitors per category. “Competing are home cooks, professional chefs and more,” stated Curley.

The first round for each category consists of two dishes, the Structured Build and Signature dish. Each category is given a specific ingredient they must use in their Structured Build dish. “This year Bacon was given cornbread as our required ingredient. We all had to incorporate cornbread somehow in a structured build which we had one hour to create. Our second dish, our signature dish was due in the next hour,” Curley stated.

The top ten dishes move on to compete two days later for the top prize of $10,000 and the right to compete at the final table for $100,000. Curley continued, “The top ten are also given a specific ingredient they must incorporate. This year for Bacon it was a very specific artisan chocolate. We all know this well in advance of the competition so it’s not like “Chopped” and we’re surprised when we arrive.” The top 10 competitors have two hours to create their best dish while incorporating the specific ingredient.

Curley placed second last year in the bacon category. She added, “I had last year’s winner in my sights when I got here. I had one goal and it was to bring him down. I won and took him down with this winning recipe and effect!!”

 

“Sweet Mystique”    

Coffee and chocolate rubbed filet of beef with bacon jam and smoked Gouda & bacon mashed potatoes

6 – 7 ounce filet mignons
2 teaspoons instant coffee
Salt and pepper
2 squares of Olive and Sinclair dark chocolate finely grated
1 1/2 thick cut bacon diced
6 pitted dates finely chopped
1/2 red onion finely diced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup beef stock
5 peeled and diced russet potatoes
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place the peeled potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until soft. Drain and set aside. Lightly salt and pepper the outsides of the filets. Combine 1/2 of the grated chocolate and the coffee, lightly rub on the seasoned filets, and set aside.

Now for the Bacon jam… Fry the diced bacon in a cast iron pan until done but not crisp. Set 1/2 cup aside for the potatoes. Drain the fat and add the diced onions, balsamic vinegar, stock and dates. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Lightly season with salt and pepper and the remaining chocolate.

Meanwhile place the filets in a hot cast iron pan and sear on both sides until medium (about 3 minutes per side). Mash the potatoes with the smoked Gouda, butter and cream and fold in the bacon. Serve the filets on a bed of the smoked Gouda mashed potatoes and top with a spoonful or two of the bacon jam. We also topped ours with a cube of extra crisp pork belly for added bacon flavor.

Now for the effect! We placed our dish on plates with small glass domes over them. We fired up our portable smoking gun and blew applewood smoke under the domes, creating a dome of white smoke.  When the judges lifted the domes, the smoke was released, infusing a little extra flavor and voilà–Sweet Mystique!

Chef Colleen Curley lives in Onsted and is the owner of Cuisine with Colleen, a venture she started in 2013 after more than 20 years in corporate human resources. “What I do is not catering; I come to your home for an amazing experience – Five Courses: Artisan Cheeses, Soup, Salad, Entrée and Dessert.” For more information visit her website at www.cuisinewithcolleen.com

Chef Curley and John after they delivered Sweet Mystique. "Feeling pretty confident we nailed it." Photo courtesy of the Curley family.

Chef Curley and John after they delivered Sweet Mystique. “Feeling pretty confident we nailed it.” Photo courtesy of the Curley family.

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