For the maple and chilli candied bacon
- 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- 1 tbsp gochujang paste
- 3 tbsp Pure Canadian Maple Syrup (amber for its rich taste or golden for its delicate taste)
- 1 tbsp maple sugar (optional)
For the summer vegetable orzo
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 100g cherry or small vine tomatoes
- 200g orzo
- A bunch of spring onions, sliced, greens and all
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ red chilli, diced
- 1 courgette, roughly chopped
- 125g frozen peas
- 8 spears of asparagus, woody stems removed
- 125g broad beans, blanched and peeled
- A bunch of basil, washed
- A handful of mint leaves, washed
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tsps maple vinegar
- Heat the oven to 170 fan and fill the kettle with water and boil it.
- To make the candied bacon, grab a bowl and scoop in the gochujang, pouring the maple syrup over the top and stirring well until nicely combined. Line a baking tray with baking paper and coat your bacon in the mixture so it’s covered on both sides, and lay it out in a single layer on the baking tray. Scatter over the maple sugar, if using.
- Meanwhile, halve your tomatoes and toss them with enough olive oil to generously coat, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Put the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray and put both trays in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning the bacon halfway through and cooking until darkly caramelised.
- Remove both trays from the oven once you’re happy the bacon is caramelised and the tomatoes are concentrated and gooey. The bacon will be soft and sticky at this point, but if you leave it to cool it will crisp up.
- To make the orzo, pour the water from the kettle into a large saucepan and season well with salt, then cook the orzo for a couple of minutes less than it says on the packed, until al dente, adding the asparagus spears for the last 3 minutes and the peas for the last 30 seconds. Drain and rinse the whole lot under cold water to stop it cooking, drain then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Fish out the asparagus spears and finely chop them down to the stems, leaving the tips intact, and return to the bowl.
- Meanwhile, sweat the spring onion, garlic and chilli in the olive oil with a pinch of salt over a medium heat for about five minutes, until softened and fragrant, then add in the courgette and lemon zest, and cook down until it’s softened and colouring, another ten minutes or so, then pour the lemon juice over and stir.
- Now transfer the mixture to the orzo bowl and stir to combine, adding in the broad beans too. Finely chop the herbs and stir them through, then chop the bacon and stir it through along with the tomatoes. Don’t worry if the tomatoes get squished – this all adds flavour. Finally, stir in the maple vinegar, taste, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers are not in any way responsible for the identification or presence of allergens in recipes or for the classification of any recipe as vegetarian or vegan.
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