Boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, even many pot roast chicken recipes call for a few slices of bacon.
A dietician nicely approved of everything in my diet, with the exception of the bacon (fried nitrates are a known carcinogen, I believe was the reason). Yet from subsequent experience I know that bœuf bourguignon simply doesn't taste the same when I omit the bacon—and replace the fat rendered from bacon with butter. Instead of heavenly it tastes ordinary and mundane.
What can I use in lieu of bacon in boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin? Is this just one of those hopeless problems?
Pancetta may be a suitable substitute.