Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Experiment: Bacon Fat Infused Cheese Sauce #1

Just recently, I tried a trick I found while reading about a local restaurant's mac and cheese recipe.  One of the tricks they do to have their bacon flavor really permeate the whole dish is to infuse bacon fat into the cheese sauce.

Since I had some Pecorino Romano leftover from a previous go at Homeroom's Gilroy Garlic Mac, and my mom was visiting, I figured I'd try the trick while making the dish for her.  If you want to read more about my experiences making the Homeroom Gilroy Garlic Mac, click here.

Mmm... bacon.
I made the recipe like I have the past several times I've made it, starting with preparing the ingredients and then making the béchamel (aka, rue) sauce.  While making the rue sauce, I had 5 pieces of hickory smoked sliced bacon cooking in the oven.  I simply laid them out on a piece of foil to catch the bacon fat on top of a cookie sheet and cooked them for about 7-10 minutes on each side with the oven set to 375F.

Once the bacon was done cooking, I took it out of the oven, moved the strips to a piece of paper towel and then set the cookie sheet aside, bacon fat still caught by the tin foil.  When it came time to mix the completed béchamel sauce together with the cheese and other ingredients, I first added the bacon fat from the tin foil into the pot with the béchamel sauce and gave it a quick stir to mix in before adding the cheese and other ingredients.

Outcome? The bacon fat gave the cheese sauce just a hint of bacon flavor, definitely not overpowering.  Overall, I'm not sure it was necessary or noticeable in this particular recipe (perhaps because of the strong garlic flavor).  Maybe next time I'll try it in a straight cheese recipe.  I would say, if you don't want the extra fat, you can probably get away without this extra step.

But you know, it's bacon, so you can never go wrong with a little more bacon flavor. Yum!

And, in case you're wondering, my mom loved it.  She even brought a bottle of one of her favorite wines to share: a Moscato by Barefoot Wines.  A little sweet, since it's usually more of a dessert wine, but I think it was an overall nice pairing with the garlic flavor.

I've now opened her eyes to the world of really good mac and cheese.  All in a day's work.

The finished product.  Cheers!

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