Try this tasty lo­cal del­i­cacy

Corn­wall has its pasties, Devon has its scones... Buck­ing­hamshire has its Ba­con Bad­ger. Jo-Anne Rowney took part in a taste test to find out more about this for­got­ten county meal

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

IAM not the fussi­est of eaters but when I saw a recipe for Buck­ing­hamshire Ba­con Bad­ger I was left feel­ing a lit­tle queasy and un­sure. Luck­ily the bad­ger in this county del­i­cacy is more a quaint nod to the an­i­mal rather than re­quir­ing you to ac­tu­ally munch on it.

I was left rather cu­ri­ous, so I be­gan to ask the Buck­ing­hamshire born and bred if they knew what it was.

Some did, and got this nos­tal­gic look in their eyes, oth­ers looked at me as if I was bark­ing mad.

The dish seems to orig­i­nate from the days when peo­ple got the scraps from the butcher to cre­ate a cheap dish.

It harks back to the days of coun­try es­tates and cold win­ters out­doors.

While it was a meal de­rived from poverty it was revered for its pow­er­ful flavour.

I de­cided we needed some kind of taste test and Raf­faele Mer­cu­rio from The Grey­hound Enoteca, in Bea­cons­field, agreed to try the recipe.

His new Ital­ian chef was ea­ger for the chal­lenge, with the added thrill of try­ing to bet­ter our Bucks of­fer­ing by try­ing to cre­ate an Ital­ian ver­sion.

The process, how­ever, is no short task. The suet pas­try was made be­fore I ar­rived, and both fill­ings were laid be­fore me.

The tra­di­tional filling con­sists of onion, potato and ba­con, lots of ba­con, and sea­son­ing - here we used sage.

Then we took a look at the chal­lenger. The Ital­ian al­ter­na­tive con­sisted of salami, and Ital­ian cheeses with pine nuts tossed in. Chef Aldo Marra at work on the Buck­ing­hamshire Ba­con Bad­ger

Both bad­gers were wrapped up and put in the steamer.

“Now we wait,” I was told. Three hours to be pre­cise. I worked away, some­what im­pa­tiently as I was told “Nearly ready, nearly.”

I tweeted out an of­fer for any­one to pop in if they were around.

Then the time came. The slices were cut away and placed on both plates.

I toyed with blind­fold­ing my­self but thought it was a bit late for that. At the bar we of­fered up the slices. Tra­di­tional first. The flavours re­minded me of win­ter home-cooked meals, and it was easy to see why this is a hearty and his­tor­i­cal dish for the county.

Then the Ital­ian op­tion. The chef was more keen here as he watched us take a bite.

The salami and cheese gave it a saltier taste, which was won­der­ful with the suet and potato. It ap­peared ev­ery­one agreed with me.

One of the testers that had popped in off the street said he had never heard of the dish be­fore and had lived in Bea­cons­field for three years.

A raised eye­brow and a chew later, and he was sold.

The ver­dict - a hearty, but maybe not so healthy recipe, that Buck­ing­hamshire can be proud of.

Visit www.get­ for a video of the taste test.

What do you think is the best Buck­ing­hamshire dish? Email your recipes and ideas to jo-anne. rowney@trin­i­tymir­ or tweet @JoAn­ne_Rowney.

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