Peppered Maple Bourbon Purple Yam Bacon
Just because vegans love the planet doesn’t mean that they don’t like bacon, too! While the very thought of non-pork bacon may repulse some, I assure you that, thanks to the contributions of creative vegan chefs worldwide, there are many delicious veggie kinds of bacon to be found (albeit, there are also many not-so-delicious veggie bacons out there, so find one or a few that satisfy you!).
Common ingredients used are mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, sweet potatoes, purple yams, and even rice paper. Mushrooms are often used as a meat supplement and the mottled surface of purple yams perfectly mimics meat. Spices, glazes, and marinades add more specific flavor and allow you to get the most out of your protein-of-choice. Today’s glaze includes a favorite flavor of mine — American oak extract — which has a lighter taste than liquid smoke. When combined with maple syrup and bourbon, American oak extract contributes a subtle smokey whiskey flavor to the marinade, adding another dimension of flavor and making you ask yourself, “Is this bacon really not meat?”
Preheat the oven to 200˚
Line two 12” x 18” rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
Make the marinade – In a glass measuring cup add all of the ingredients, whisking to combine. Pour into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Prepare the yams – Peel the yams and thinly sliced about 1/8″ thick on a mandolin. Place in a large bowl, pour the glaze over the yams and toss to coat. Evenly place on the sheet pans. Sprinkle with additional smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes then rotate the pans and bake for another 30 minutes until brown and caramelized. Remove one strip from the pan and let cool to room temperature. If it’s done to your taste, remove both trays from the oven. Otherwise, continue baking the trays for 30 minutes and repeat to check for doneness.
Note – I like to bake the purple yam bacon to three different levels of crispness. The first level is crisp but still tender. This bacon is perfect for avocado-bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwiches. The next level is medium crisp, which I call a jerky level which is perfect for snacking. The third level is very crispy and perfect to coarsely chop for a spinach salad.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp American oak extract
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 medium purple yams, peeled