900g bacon loin (Canadian Back Bacon)
2 1/2 tbsp whiskey, Irish Mist
5 tbsp Honey
100ml (3 ½ fluid oz) cider
12 whole Cloves
¼ stick (1 oz) butter
2 ½ Tbsp Olive Oil
8 small Savoy cabbage leaves, trimmed down into cups
For the Potato Cakes
1 lb Potatoes, well scrubbed
1 egg yolk
¼ cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Place loin of bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, until completely tender.
2. To make the potato cakes, cover the potatoes with cold water in a pan and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander and leave to cool completely.
3. Peel away the skins and grate the potatoes into a bowl. Add the egg yolk and sprinkle in the flour. Season generously and mix until just combined. Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into patties using a 4 in. cooking ring or pastry cutting ring, using a little extra flour for dusting if necessary. Arrange on a flat plate, cover loosely with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours, to firm up.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the Irish Mist into a saucepan with the honey and cider. Heat gently until the honey has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the loin of bacon from the water and leave until cool enough to handle then trim away the rind and excess fat. Slash the remaining thin layer of fat in a criss-cross pattern and stud with cloves.
5. Place the clove-studded bacon in a small roasting tin and brush all over with the Irish Mist glaze, pouring any remainder around the joint. Bake for 15-20 minutes until completely heated through and well glazed, basting occasionally.
6. Remove the bacon from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add a knob of the butter and once it is foaming, add the potato cakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until warmed through and golden brown. Blanch the cabbage cups in a pan of boiling salted water, until just tender but still holding their shape. Drain well and toss in the remaining knob of butter. Season to taste.
7. To serve – carve the bacon into slices. Place a potato cake on each of 4 warmed serving plates, and arrange the slices of meat on top. Add the Savoy cabbage cups, drizzle with any remaining glaze left in the tin and serve.
Cooks Note: Most bacon loin does not need to be soaked overnight but it’s probably worth checking with your butcher. If the bacon is very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water when you boil it. In this case it is preferable to discard this water. It may be necessary to change the water several times depending on how salty the bacon is.