Gubbeen Bacon

Gubbeen BaconGubbeen Farmhouse Products are made by the Ferguson family at their beautifully located dairy farm near Schull in West Cork. Tom and Giana Ferguson are the fifth generation to care for this lovely place, which is now synonymous with their beautiful semi-soft Gubbeen cheese - and, increasingly, the Gubbeen Smokehouse products made by their son, Fingal.

The dairy and pork businesses are interdependent - the various breeds of pigs enjoying a fine sea view from their large straw-filled pens, where their wholesome diet includes whey remaining from the cheese-making process - and Fingal also uses herbs supplied by his sister Clovisse in his much-admired range of smoked meats, hams, rashers, sausages and salamis.

The most popular products are ham and dry-cured bacon, which are available either smoked or green all year round. The rashers (loin and belly) are very pure, with no added water or unnecessary additives in the curing process. “I love strong bold flavours and I have strong principles of not using any ingredients that are not necessary, like MSG, phosphates or sulphurs,” Fingal states, so it should come as no surprise that his bacon is full of character, with excellent texture and a distinctive flavour – qualities that make it popular with chefs as well as home cooks.

Used fried or grilled in the traditional Irish breakfast, it cooks beautifully to make the must-have crisp rasher that seemed a thing of the past until recently. It’s great for warm salads, diced as a garnish, cooked in strips for pasta dishes, made into bacon rolls to accompany poultry or for nibbles with drinks, or as a garnish – anywhere where bacon is called for, dry cured bacon will make a better dish than ‘ordinary’ wet cured bacon.

Fingal Ferguson’s bacon (and his other smoked products) are widely distributed and can always be found at Schull, Skibbereen, Bantry and Mahon Point farmers’ markets.

The Fergusons also offer beautiful hampers – including, for example, Gubbeen cheeses, smoked salami, their own brand oatcakes (made by famous Northern Ireland bakers, Ditty’s of Castledawson) and chutney – all packed in lovely hand painted wooden trays, for delivery by courier or collection from selected farmers’ markets; order by phone or email.

Roast Cod, Savoy Cabbage & Crispy Gubbeen BaconRoast Cod, Savoy Cabbage & Crispy Gubbeen Bacon

Fish, cabbage and bacon make a classic combination that’s perfect for Irish produce and Gubbeen bacon is Martin Shanahan’s ingredient of choice in this deliciously simple seasonal dish from Martin & Paul’s Surf’n’Turf (Quadrille), the cookbook based on the TV series of the same name. “A fabulous combination,” says Martin, “I love any fish or seafood with bacon, and the soft yet firm texture of the cod here is great with the crispy bacon.”

Serves 4

2 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus more for the cabbage
1 onion, finely chopped
1 savoy cabbage, shredded
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
4 x 200g sustainably stocked cod steaks (no skin, no bone, no fear)
4 rashers of Gubbeen bacon, or other quality dry-cured bacon
200ml single cream
80g unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. In a pot, sweat the onion in a little oil for about two minutes. Add the cabbage and about 100ml of water. Stir and simmer for eight minutes. By this time the water will have evaporated (though drain off any that remains).

Meanwhile, heat the 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil in an ovenproof pan on the hob. Season the cod steaks. Place in the pan and brown for a minute on each side. Cover with foil and place in the hot oven for eight minutes. At the same time, put the bacon on a roasting tray in the oven.

Add the cream and butter to the cabbage and simmer for four minutes more. Place it on warmed plates with the cod and crisp bacon on top.

3rd December 2012
giana frguson
What a lovely review Georgina - may thanks! Giana and Fingal
3rd December 2012
No thanks due to us at all, we're only the messengers. But many thanks are due to all of you at Gubbeen: a good review is only possible as a result of someone's hard work and dedication!

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