Bacon rolls with mushrooms and tomato sauce

The people I love are a huge inspiration for my cooking.  Preparing food for someone can be such a gesture of care and demonstration of love.  Honing and adapting recipes to create a personalised meal for someone is not only an investment of time but shows how much you understand them and listen to them.  As I have mentioned before, my husband loves bacon in pretty much any guise, and bacon rolls have to be one of his favourites.  There is something inexplicably enticing about a bacon roll but it isn’t known as a great health food.  In my mind healthy eating is all about moderation.  It doesn’t mean that your favourite foods are off limits, just that you can’t necessarily eat everything you want all the time, and also, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a treat meal that you can’t make at least a bit healthier.  Therefore, here is my version of bacon rolls, cooked with much love, which I have tried to make as healthy as possible while still retaining the essential elements that my husband loves so that I can give us a treat while still looking after our health.  I have reduced the fat by dry frying then trimming the bacon and cutting out the butter, used wholemeal or seeded rolls rather than white to increase the fiber, removed the sugar by replacing commercial tomato ketchup with a homemade tomato sauce and added vegetables in a side of onions and mushrooms.

Bacon rolls

Cooking time: 10 minutes preparation, 10 minutes on the night

Dietary info: dairy-free (vegetarian / vegan variations in the tasty little twists)

Serves: 2-4

  • 4 fresh soft rolls, I like to use wholemeal or seeded rolls
  • 1 packet of bacon, about 300g

Mushroom mix

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ pork stock cube, crumbled
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Tomato sauce

  • ½ pork stock cube dissolved in 100ml hot water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp tamarind powder
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato puree
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  1. Put the sliced onions and mushrooms into a non-stick frying pan with a splash of water, sprinkle over the garlic powder and crumbled stock cube and stir to combine.  Cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until they are soft.  You can remove the lid for the last few minutes of cooking to let any excess water evaporate.  The mixture should be juicy but not be sitting in lots of liquid
  2. To make the tomato sauce, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, tamarind, allspice and chilli powder with the tomato puree then gradually stir in the pork stock,, vinegar and lemon juice
  3. Dry fry the bacon for a few minutes each side until opaque all the way through and getting crispy around the edges, then drain on kitchen paper and trim off large bits of rind / fat
  4. Cut the rolls in half and fill each with a quarter of the bacon, topped with a spoonful of mushroom onion mixture and a drizzle of tomato sauce.  Serve with the remaining mushroom onion mixture and tomato sauce on the side.  You can also add some salad on the side to increase the amount of vegetables

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A few tips to prep ahead:

  • Make the mushroom onion mixture and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days
  • Make the tomato sauce and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week
  • All you need to do on the night is cook the bacon (I think it is best hot and fresh from the pan) and assemble the rolls

A few tasty little twists and extras…

Your favourite meals never have to be static and set in stone.  Each time you make them you can try something a little different to suit your tastes that day (or the contents of your fridge).  You can also try to adapt them to suit other people you love who may have different requirements.  Here are a few of my variations including some vegetarian and vegan options:

  • For an extra luxurious version my husband likes to add a few slices of good quality black pudding.  Fry and drain these along with the bacon and pile into the rolls with the other ingredients
  • Never be afraid to test out new and unusual ingredients in old favourite recipes.  I had some sweet apple vinegar and added 1 tsp to the tomato sauce instead of the cider vinegar which was a lovely addition (apple goes beautifully with pork) – I realise sweet apple vinegar isn’t easy to get hold of but why not try replacing the cider vinegar with a tsp of apple sauce / pureed baked apple or something else fruity such as plum sauce, crushed raspberries, balsamic vinegar or a fruit syrup
  • For a vegetarian version, nothing quite replaces bacon, but you could swap it for eggs fried in a little bit of olive oil and / or a few slices of strong cheese such as smoked cheese or cheddar. You could also try vegetarian version of bacon such as Quorn bacon.  Also remember to replace the pork stock cubes in the mushrooms and tomato sauce with vegetable stock cubes
  • Similarly for a vegan version you can swap the pork stock cubes for vegan vegetable ones, and swap the bacon for sliced of smoked or cheddar-like vegan cheese, or something like tempeh or tofu rashers, marinade in a little soy sauce and fried in a drizzle of olive or vegetable oil
  • Our local farm shop does amazing bacon, including chilli and garlic bacon or rosemary and thyme bacon.  To fit with the rosemary and thyme bacon, one night I made the all in one tomato and mushroom mix below to replace the mushroom mix and tomato sauce in the recipe above.  this would also go nicely with normal plain or smoked bacon
  • For a low carb version, mix the bacon in with the mushroom mix above and serve drizzled with tomato sauce, or mix it in with the mushroom tomato mix below and serve with a salad.  If you want to eat it like a roll, but want to still make it lower carb either do open rolls (e.g. don’t put the top of the roll on, effectively halving the amount of bread) or serve sandwiched between two slices of grilled aubergine
  • The tomato sauce for these rolls is one of our favourites, and it goes nicely in a range of dishes e.g. brushed over and on the side of grilled meat, fish or vegetables, as a dip for vegetable sticks or any kebab, drizzled onto burgers or anywhere you might use tomato ketchup

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Rosemary and thyme mushroom and tomato mix and sauce

Cooking time: 5-10 minutes preparation

Dietary info: dairy-free (vegetarian / vegan if made with a vegetable stock cube and served as part of one of the vegetarian / vegan variations in the tasty little twists)

Serves: 2-4 as a replacement for the tomato sauce and mushroom mix in the recipe above

  • 1 red onion,  sliced
  • 300g mushrooms,  sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 pork stock cube
  • 1 tsp smoked garlic powder
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tsp cornflour mixed to a smooth liquid with 1 tbsp. of cold water
  1. Put all of the ingredients except for the cornflour into a non-stick saucepan, cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft
  2. Drain off the liquid into anther saucepan and reserve the remaining tomato, mushroom and onion mixture
  3. Add the cornflour to the liquid and bring to the boil and bubble, stirring continuously until the liquid has thickened so that it coats the back of the spoon like a gravy
  4. Serve the  tomato, mushroom and onion mixture in place of the mushroom mix in the recipe above and the thickened “gravy” in place of the tomato sauce

 

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