Lardons (or lardoons) is simply cubed bacon. In most recipes for soups and stews, you don’t need more than 4 ounces or half a cup at a time. The next time you open a package of bacon for lardons, take an extra 30 minutes to use the whole package at once, by blanching it and freezing it for later.
The nicest lardons will be made with thick-cut bacon or slab bacon (a single chunk unsliced). The bacon should lean toward smoky, as opposed to sweet. So start with that.
- Set a medium-size pot of water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water standing nearby.
- Dice the bacon into small cubes or short strips.
- Measure out half a cup or 4 ounces of lardons and drop them into the boiling water and let it boil for two minutes.
- Lift the lardons out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and drop them into the ice water to cool.
- When the lardons have cooled off, lift them out and put them into a small freezer bag. Put the freezer bag in the fridge.
- Repeat the measuring, blanching, and bagging of the remaining lardons.
When the bags are completely cooled, move them into the freezer.
To use the lardons, remove the bag from the freezer and empty it straight into the cold pot or frying pan. Cook them gently, breaking them up as they thaw. Cook until they have rendered most of their fat and are golden.
Lardons are an important ingredient in Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, Spaghetti Carbonara, salade Lyonnaise, and certain baked bean recipes. You can also put them on a pizza. Keeping a stash in the freezer ready to go will save you a lot of time when you turn out these great dishes.