Bacon is one of the staples of our breakfasts but it doesn't have to just be a morning food.
I have tried putting bacon in an assortment of meals.
Just a few of my favorites:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Baked Chicken
- Roast Pork
Just to name a few.
Just the other day I hosted a dinner party where I used bacon in some form or another in each dish. I chopped up some bacon and fried it in a pan until it was crispy. I drained it into a cup and saved the bacon fat. First I made some mashed potatoes and I stirred the crispy bacon into it. Second I poured some of the bacon fat into a pan and sautéed some green beans in it. Third, I pan-fried some teriyaki chicken with some of the reserved bacon fat and olive oil. Fourth and last, I used the rest of the reserved bacon fat to make a homemade gravy.
I'm usually very hypercritical of anything I make for my friends; It stems from 20 years in restaurant kitchens where a bad dish could ruin you financially and a great dish could make you the next big thing. That dinner party I was amazed that everything I made came out perfect. Nothing was over-seasoned or under-seasoned. Not one of my friends had any complaints but they all had the same question.
"What was your secret ingredient???"
Should I tell them that there was bacon in everything they ate?
They all loved my food but they all didn't know what that one flavor was. BACON!
In my dishes instead of using butter I used bacon fat. Bacon is higher in fat than butter but the fact is it is bacon fat is lower in saturated fat than butter. Also bacon fat just tastes better, well in my opinion.
Macaroni and cheese is another dish I love using bacon in. If you are making box mac & cheese then you can just fry up some bacon and add it and the bacon fat into the macaroni instead of using butter or margarine for the cheese sauce. If you are making it from scratch then you more than likely will be making a roux.
A roux is basically flour and fat heated in a pan over heat to cook the flour into a thickening agent while also adding flavor. Usually butter. I like to use the bacon fat as a butter or margarine substitute. This is good for any time you make a roux for a savory dish and honestly even if you were making a dessert.
A couple of weeks ago a friend brought me a beautiful pork loin. I brined it, like I do all my pork, and decided to wrap it in bacon. The bacon crisped up on the outside of the loin while it also sealed all the juices inside. Be sure if you do this to let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing into it. If you slice into too soon all the juices will run out and the pork will be dry. You do not want that.
When baking a chicken I would do the same as the pork.
Dips are somewhat easy to make. I generally go to my condiments and see what I have and decide to add a little bit of this and a little bit of that and the end product is usually a delicious dip either for vegetables, chips, crackers, etc. A dip I made the other night for a vegetable and cracker platter was a whipped dressing base (Miracle Whip). I took a spoonful of the whipped dressing, about a tablespoon of steak sauce, a few dabs of hot sauce, and a few drops of bacon fat with some minced bacon bits. I won't lie, I was a bit tipsy when making the dip but one taste and it was heaven. A few of my guests begged me for the recipe. One guest made a sandwich and used the dip as a spread instead of mayonnaise. I made extra and dip my carrots in it at work.
Don't be afraid to experiment with your ingredients. You might find that two opposing ingredients meld into a really tasty unique dish. Think of the new surge in bacon ice creams.