Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bacon!

A little bacon goes a long way but it is a bit messy and time consuming, even for a few pieces.  Store-bought precooked bacon that can be reheated by the piece in the microwave or oven has solved the fuss but most cost twice as much as uncooked bacon per ounce.

For a large breakfast party, experienced cooks and chefs know to cook a large batch of bacon in the oven freeing up stove space for eggs and pancakes.  The same technique can be used by smaller households to precook bacon and reheat when needed.  Here’s how it works:

Precooked Bacon
Ingredients
1 package uncooked bacon

Method
  1. Place uncooked bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet.  
  2. Place in a cold oven.  
  3. Turn the oven to 450˚F and set timer for 15 minutes.  
  4. Check on bacon about 10 minutes in and turn. After 15 minutes use tongs to place bacon strips on paper towels to drain. 
The bacon should not be too crisp since it will crisp up upon reheating.  Use another paper towel to blot grease from tops side of bacon.  Store cooked bacon between waxed paper sheets and in a resealable plastic bag.  Freeze up to 3 months or refrigerate for 3-4 days.

To use, remove strips and heat in microwave 30 seconds or in a warm oven until heated through.

If you normally cook bacon in a microwave you can use this same idea to cook a large batch so that reheated strips do not create a puddle of grease.

Notes: any bacon brand is fine but I have found that thinly cut bacon is harder to handle so I look for a medium or thicker cut. 

Favorite Uses for Precooked Bacon
Real bacon bits for salads and baked potatoes
Cobb Salad
BLTs with avocado
Chicken salad with bacon (hold the salt)
Breakfast open-face bacon and cheese melt sandwich
Spaghettie Carbonara (eggs, cheese and bacon)
Baked beans with bacon

Leftover Uncooked Bacon
Sometimes not all the bacon in the package will fit in your pan.  You can use two pans or since stew season is coming on, cut uncooked bacon into 1-2" pieces and freeze.   When a stew recipe calls for sautéing onions or carrots, add a bit of the uncooked bacon “lardons” to help develop a deeper flavor in your dish.  Great for baked beans from scratch too.