As I recall growing up, there was always one traditional PA Dutch food that was always part of the holiday meal at my Grampop and Gramom’s home. Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, Endive with Hot Bacon Dressing was always on the table!
Unfortunately, I never learned how to make hot bacon dressing from my grandparents, but rather, from my father, who learned to make it from a close friend of the family, Richard “Dick” Bortz. My Father told me that Mr. Bortz said; if you remembered the rule of thumb, 1, 2, 3, 4, you could make hot bacon dressing.
1, 2, 3, 4, refers to: 1 tablespoon flour, 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 4 tablespoons white granulated sugar, and of course, slab bacon. With that as our baseline, let’s begin!
Ingredients for approximately 6-8 servings
¼ lb. slab bacon
1 table spoon white flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 bunch curly endive (sometimes call chicory or escarole)
Cut bacon into ½” – ¾” cubes and fry until crispy brown. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan. Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel.
Let pan and bacon grease cool to room temperature, otherwise you’ll have scrambled eggs further along in the recipe.
While the pan and the bacon grease cool, mix 1 tablespoon white flour with a tablespoon or so of tepid water and blend into a slurry.
Next, beat the 2 large eggs in a small bowl
Pour the flour and water mixture into the cooled pan with the bacon grease and begin to warm the mixture over a very low heat.
Add the 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar along with the 4 tablespoons of sugar to the pan and whisk until well blended.
Remember, keep the heat low, or this is where you’ll get the scrambled eggs.
As the mixture warms, it will begin to thicken. Keep a small measuring cup of tepid water handy to thin the mixture as the flour cooks. I prefer hot bacon dressing to be a consistency that just coats a spoon. If you like it thicker, go for it, it’s your choice, just don’t add as much water.
Once the flour has cooked, add salt and pepper to taste and return the cooked bacon to the pan.
That’s all there is to it! All you need to do now is spoon the hot bacon dressing over the curly endive and toss, or, serve the hot bacon dressing separately and let your guests dress their endive as they like.
Ess dich satt un hot en frehlicher Oschder! (Eat yourself satisfied and have a merry Easter!)
Written by BHC Executive Director, Sime Bertolet
This article was written as part of the Berks History Center’s 2018 Berks County Foodways Project. Click here to learn more about Berks County Foodways.