Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bacon Jam

Pop Quiz:

Q:When carnivores go vegetarian, what do they miss most?

A: Bacon.

Seriously, who can resist that aroma??  Not me. And although I don't eat it as much as I might like, and when I do it is usually made of Turkey, I LOVE BACON!

Sooooo, when I saw a link to Bacon Jam, I swooned.

Typically when you think of Bacon and/or Jam you think of breakfast. At least I did!

I mixed up a batch of Bacon Jam last night and went to sleep dreaming of toast and bacon jam and  maybe a dab on my eggs. And yes, it was delicious (I did have one inner debate: Do you butter the toast before smearing on the jam or is that gilding the lily? I tried it both ways and the jury is still out.)

The sliced tomatoes and avocado on the side brought a little color to the plate and were perfect with the jam.  The smooth avocado was the perfect foil to the smoky-sweet, textured, chewy jam. All in all, though, I am thinking Bacon Jam might be better suited to lunch, dinner or the cocktail hour.

Ohhh, the possibilities: Slathered on chicken breasts or salmon fillets, just before you take them off the grill. Dolloped on crackers topped with Brie or Smoked Gouda. A BJLT  sandwich anyone? Smeared on corn on the cob. Maybe with a roast beef and provolone on rye sandwich. Yum , Diddy, Yum Yum!

Make some of your own, and let me know how you serve it....

Here's the recipe:

Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam

1 lb thick bacon
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
3/4 C strong coffee
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/4 C maple syrup
1/4 C bourbon (see note below)
2 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped
1/2 t cumin
pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon in a sauce pan over medium heat until bacon just starts to get crispy. Remove bacon and drain on towels.
Once cooled, chopped bacon into 1" pieces.
Remove all but 1 T of bacon fat from pan.
Saute onions in pan until tender, then add garlic and saute until fragrant (do not allow to brown)
Deglaze the pan with vinegar, being sure to scrape up all the flavorful bacon bits on the bottom!
Add remaining ingredients, including the reserved bacon,  reduce the heat to low and cook for 1-2 hours until the liquid is syrupy, stirring from time to time.
Let jam cool a bit, then place in food processor. Pulse until ingredients are chopped but not pureed.
You can store it in your fridge for up to a month. But, seriously, it will never last that long
Makes about 1 1/2 - 2 C.

Full disclosure/Recipe Alterations

I used regular sliced bacon -- no problem.
I measured the vinegar and bourbon together ( always read the recipe twice before proceeding!), so I deglazed the pan with both -- no problem.
I did not have a large onion, so I used 2 small ones.
You can chop the bacon before you cook it, but I don't like how the pieces all stick together when I do that, so I prefer to cook them whole -- or depending on the size of your pan, cut in half.

The Jam has a bit of a kick. If you don't like spicy, either eliminate the chilis or use just one. OR: if you don't want to open a whole can of chilis, just add a shake of red pepper flakes.
No bourbon? It's worth buying the smallest bottle you can find (or borrowing a 1/4 C from your neighbor)because it does add to the flavor profile of the Jam.
Not a drinker? No problem - substitute with apple juice. (I know, "they" say the alcohol will burn off in the cooking process, but I don't agree. Even if it does, the flavor remains and that can be a problem.)

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