Doing beef bourguignon tonight. I realize that lardons aren't really necessary anymore because modern beef is a lot fattier but I want to stick with the classic recipe and get that hint of pork flavor into the stew. I have some particularly smokey bacon (Nueske's) and many recipes (inculding Julias) call for blanching the bacon to remove some of the smoke/salt. I tested the process this morning and then subsequently ate the bacon with my breakfast. It is definitely less smoky/salty but still has some discernible smoke flavor.
My questions are:
1. Will blanching longer continue to reduce the smoke flavor?
2. Is there a good substitute for the bacon? I don't think pancetta makes sense because it's seasoned and I don't want that.
3. Do you omit the bacon entirely? Is it purely sentimental at this point?