Casting pearls before swine?
Waste not want not. Why toss out the bacon fat when you can use it in place of butter in some recipes? Throwing away bacon fat is akin to casting pearls before swine.
Bacon fat is lower in saturated fat than butter. And not by a wee bit! Bacon fat contains a whopping 42% less saturated fat than butter*. And it’s higher in the good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Not to mention that it adds a new dimension of flavor to your dish.
For this recipe, there is more than enough bacon fat rendered when you cook the bacon that is the first step of this recipe. I used the boss hog bacon slab that I froze last time I made a bacon-based soup. This hickory-smoked bacon is great for lending smoky and salty flavor to the soup without overwhelming it. Cutting the bacon slab into 1/2 inch cubes makes a great garnish and a good size to use when blending. You will add back 1/2 of the cooked bacon before you blend the soup and it makes such a difference. The bacon blended in adds a tiny bit of bacon in each “bite” of this soup.
Some folks save bacon drippings in a jar to have on hand for cooking. If you store your bacon fat it should be kept in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and stored in the refrigerator.
Serve this soup with skillet bacon & cheddar cornbread or a baguette and a crisp cold salad with lots of brightly colored vegetables and you’ll be eating high on the hog.
- 6 slices of thick cut bacon or 1/4 # slab bacon , chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 TBS bacon fat
- 1/4 cup onion diced
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1 1/4 pounds broccoli cut into 2-inch pieces, about 4 cups
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup cheddar cheese freshly shredded, plus more for garnish
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until brown and crisp. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Next remove all but 2 TBS of the rendered bacon fat in the pan. Add the diced onion to the soup pot and allow it to cook and soften, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the flour to make a roux with the soup pot's contents. Cook while stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes being careful not to burn the flour!
Add the broth gradually, stirring as you go to blend the roux and the broth. Next add the broccoli pieces and milk, salt and pepper to the pot. Turn the heat back up to medium to medium high and bring the pot to a boil. Turn the heat down again and simmer the soup for ten minutes.
Add half the cooked bacon to the soup pot. Next, blend the soup until smooth by transferring in batches to a counter top blender or using a hand immersion blender.
Once blended, return the soup to the soup pot and keep warm on the stove. Finally, stir in the heavy cream and shredded cheese and serve warm. Garnish each bowl with remaining cooked bacon pieces and shredded cheese.
You can freeze the leftovers, but leftovers of this hearty tasty soup will happen when pigs fly. So go whole hog and serve this up without breaking the piggy bank.
*Source: Sue Snider, Ph.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist, Food and Nutrition Facts, FNF-18 .University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, March 1997.