Popcorn and a movie? Kick it up a notch with Ancho Bacon Kettle Corn! With a hint of heat from ancho chile powder, crumbled bacon, and popcorn popped in the bacon drippings and confectioner’s sugar, this gourmet popcorn will dance on your tongue…
Is a “healthy blogger” supposed to write about bacon-flavored popcorn? Admittedly, I did have a bit of an internal struggle with that question. 😀 I do not deprive myself of bacon, and I feel a little bacon flavor goes a long way in satisfying that craving for its salty, smoky goodness. 🙂
So, how do I justify bacon? MODERATION. It works. At the end of the day, I’m looking for balance, and I believe enjoying bacon now and then can be part of a healthy diet. So here goes…
I did the math…
Turns out the answer is bacon.
Featured Ingredient: Popping Corn
The stuff in a microwave bag is not healthy. The kernels are coated with a chemical substance that may be a carcinogen (according to the FDA), and that “butter” flavor isn’t butter. So, what’s a health conscious snacker to do? Make your popcorn on the stove or in an air popper. Air poppers are wonderful, but this recipe requires a stove so as to pop the corn in bacon fat. Lol. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much bacon or fat, and it’s a whole lot of flavor! That’s why I say “all things in moderation.” Make this Ancho Bacon Kettle Corn and live a little. You’ll love the hint of sweetness with the smokiness and heat. It’ll beat that bag of microwave popcorn… hands down! And that’s why this “healthy blogger” is posting a recipe for Ancho BACON Kettle Corn. 😀
P.S. Looking for more tasty snacks? Check out my Deliciously Different Asian Party Mix.
Ancho Bacon Kettle Corn
With a hint of heat from ancho chile powder, crumbled bacon, and popcorn popped in the bacon drippings and sugar, this gourmet popcorn will dance on your tongue...
- 2 strips thick cut bacon
- 1-2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle chile powder (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (I like Himalayan pink sea salt)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup popping corn (see notes)
- 1/4 cup sugar
Chop the the bacon into 1/2" wide pieces. Fry until crisp, taking care to not cook too hot and burn the drippings. Set bacon bits aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Wipe the pan of any remaining dark bits.
Crumble the bacon using a rolling pin (you want it very fine like crumbs). Mix the bacon crumbs with the salt and ancho or chipotle chile powder. Set aside.
In a deep pot with a lid, over medium-high heat, add the oil and reserved bacon fat. It should total 1/4 cup. Add the popping corn, and stir to coat.
When the corn begins to pop, quickly stir in the sugar, and cover. Delaying the addition of the sugar keeps it from burning. When it's popping rapidly, reduce heat a bit (again to help prevent burning). Lifting the lid to let steam escape will result in crunchier popped corn!
As the corn pops, shake or stir often. Remove from heat when the popping drops off.
Add to a very large bowl to better coat the popcorn. Sprinkle the popped corn with the bacon, salt, chile powder mixture. Enjoy!
Chile powder provides spicy heat, so proceed cautiously if you're heat sensitive. I'm a New Mexican, and I definitely go for the heat, adding more than I suggest in the recipe...
All popping corn is not equal. 😀 Orville Redenbacher's and Bob's Red Mill are two that pop very well.
We didn't miss the butter (because of the flavor from the bacon fat). If you can't live without melted butter (or want to improve the adhesion of the seasoning mixture), heat a couple of tablespoons in that hot pan after dumping the popcorn into a large bowl.
Lifting the lid occasionally to release the steam will yield crunchier popped corn. Using a light weight pan and tossing it occasionally also prevents burning and facilitates better popping.
Calories are approximate and based on 8 servings! 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels should yield 14-15 cups popped, so calories depend on what you think constitutes a "serving" and how much you eat. It certainly won't be more than the stuff in a microwave bag. 🙂
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