You joke, but I promise if you even had my 48 hour brined pork belly done in my FiL’s smoker, you would never consider such a thing a joke again. Aaaaaand now I have to find time to go to the local Asian market to get a pork belly. Again. I just finished off all the cheap bre-brined corned beef briskets I got on sale after the holiday and smoked with my FiL. The latter counts a shameful culinary practice, in that it’s low quality meat, filled with crap, and a mediocre brine - it would be a pretty terrible roast as is.
But rinse it, discard the store ‘spice package’, add a homemade rub and smoke it, and it’s amazing, especially at the $1.99 or less after holiday sale.
I know that! But what tickles me, is that even the cheapest pastrami in the store deli section (and we’re not talking about a high quality Jewish deli) is 8.99+/lb on sale. And this is not only better, but less than 1/4 of the price. I’ve served it to people as part of a cold cut platter and they want to know my secret, not knowing the deep shame of the quality of the cut being used. evil laughter
DH and I went to IHOP last weekend and he insisted on ordering the maple bacon milkshake. I did sample, and it was better than I would have expected (I would not consider bacon a reasonable milkshake ingredient).
For roux, you can find a number of recipes online for the microwave. They do work, but you do have to be careful towards the end and do it like 30 seconds at a time. It’ll brown up fine, but it is insanely hot, so you have to be careful while handling it. I personally find it easier (or, rather, less stressful and requiring less attention) than stovetop roux and I’ve never had issues getting it to chocolate levels of browning.
I brown roux in a small pan on the stovetop at the highest heat setting, and stir constantly until I get the brownness level I want. If I thnk it’s getting too hot I’ll take the pan off the heat for a little bit. It does take a lot of attention, but is much quicker than making roux at lower temps, like 10 minutes for a nicely browned roux, and I’ve never burned it.
Yeah, when I used to do it stovetop, I would also, like you, do it with full burners. (It’s also the way I do caramelized onions). Most recipes have you going slow, but you don’t need to. You just have to know what you’re doing, pay almost constant attention, and keep the roux moving (as well as moving the pot off the heat from time to time, as you said.) I’ve seen a couple of bona fide from-the-bayou Cajun chefs doing it this way (and they tend to like their roux darker than Creole roux), and I was initially a bit surprised, as the conventional instruction is to go slow and take your time, but I think that’s more the “safe” way to do it for people who are not as experienced. You are likely to burn your roux the first time or so you do it this way. And, as you may know, if even a speck of roux gets burnt, you have to start all over. There’s no covering up that burnt taste that will permeate the dish.
There’s also the “dry roux” method where you simply bake the flour until it toasts up real good. This takes a long time, but it does keep well, and if you’re trying to watch your calories, it’s another method to try. (You can then use it with water or stock as a slurry that will both thicken and flavor your finished dish without adding all the fat calories.)
Yeah, I just keep it in the cupboard on the shelf. As long as it’s in a dry place, it seems to last just as long as regular ol’ flour. I’ve used it many months after I’ve made it. I admit, though, it’s not quite as satifcying as having that ultra hot roux ready for your holy trinity to heat it. That’s my favorite part, when the veggies hit the roux and the smell hits you as the temp drops and the vegetables almost instantly soften up, releasing all their aromas.