Monty is the first dog I have ever owned. Before we got him two years ago we did some research online about the different dog food brands. What we found was quite shocking – many foods and treats seemed to be packed with nasties of various kinds. We finally found kibble and wet food that seemed to avoid additives and meat from unknown sources. However, finding treats that we could give Monty with confidence was harder. So, that led me to experiment with making my own. These treats contain bacon which some dog owners might wish to avoid due to the salt and fat content. I suggest using lean (not streaky) bacon and draining off much of the fat from cooking. And, as with chocolate cake for humans, these are an occasional treat!
- 250 grams/8ozs of lean bacon rashers – cut into thick strips – smoked or unsmoked
- 450g/16ozs chicken livers – cut up roughly
- 450g/16oz plain flour, or, wholemeal flour for roughage (or wholemeal spelt if you have it)
- 150g/6ozs of fine cornmeal
- 250g chicken stock – wither fresh or made up from bouillon powder
- 60g of tomato ketchup
- 1 large egg white
(Whisk the egg white and ketchup together to make a thick glaze, and set aside). Line two baking sheets with non-stick parchment.
Preheat oven to 125C/260F/Gas3
Cook the cut up bacon in a large pan over a medium-high heat till fairly crisp for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and pat with paper towels to remove most of the fat. Keep half of the bacon fat in the pan and add the cut up chicken livers. Fry for 5 minutes or so during which some liver paste will form. Set pan aside to cool slightly.
Put the cooked bacon into a food processor and spin to form a coarse meal. Now add the cooked chicken livers and grind again to form a paste. Next add the fine cornmeal to form a coarse pâté mixture.
Add the flour to form a coarse paste. Finally add the chicken stock that will now give you soft dough. Take the dough from the processor and knead it to form a smooth ball – about 1 minute of kneading is enough.
Put dough between two sheets of non-stick parchment and roll it out to about 1cm/3/8”. Then use a small cutter e.g. I use a small square one, but a round one is equally good, or you can buy one in the shape of a dog-bone. Use up all trimmings and the quantity should give you about 46 treats when divided between the two baking trays.
Bake for 1 ½ hours at the above temperature, and then lower the temperature to 100C/200F and bake for another 2 hours. You are essentially drying out the biscuits. Take them out of the oven and brush them with the tomato ketchup glaze and bake for another 20 minutes.
Allow to cool on a rack and store in an airtight container. I appreciate that this seems like a long baking time, but with the quality of the ingredients, at least you know what is going into the treats, and your doggie will love for you for it.