As is traditional, I made a batch of Bacon Jam for the holidays, passing it around to those who really like it. As for me, meh, I think it’s nice, but nothing that I feel a great need to nosh on at a gathering.
Still, those who do like it are a bit devoted to it, so I made a fresh batch to give as a thank you to some friends who were handling the driving and parking on a weekend in town.
And then, I got to thinking about possible alternate bacon jam applications…
•8 oz uncured bacon
•2 medium yellow onions, diced
•3 garlic cloves, diced
•1/2 cup cider vinegar
•1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
•1/4 cup REAL maple syrup (grade B)
•3/4 cup coffee – espresso
•1 tsp Earl’s – or 2 tsp Tabasco
•Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper
Season the bacon with the freshly ground pepper and cook over medium-high heat in a skillet or, as did I, the stove-top safe base of your cool new-ish ceramic tagine, until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, then pour off all but about one tablespoon of the fat.
Add the onion and garlic to the fat in the pan and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and translucent – about ten minutes.
Add the vinegar, Earl’s (or Tabasco), espresso, maple syrup, and the brown sugar.
Stir to blend and bring to a boil, scraping up any tasty bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add the bacon and transfer the whole shebang to a slow cooker.
Cook on high, uncovered, for three to five hours, and it will vary based on your cooker, until the liquid in the pot is reduced and syrupy.
Pour this mixture into a food processor fitted with the metal blade and give it all a good couple of pulses to nicely chop everything up.
Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to three weeks. Or, you could let the jam cool, then turn into ice cube trays and freeze until solid, then store the cubes in a sealed bag in the freezer. This is a really great way to turn a basic can of baked beans into something special.
Of course, I’ve just come up with a couple of other uses for this jam based on two different recipes posted here; one a recent success, and one a not-s0-recent kindofa flop.
For both of those (hopefully) tasty solutions, check out next Friday’s Parfait! – as well as all the good stuff coming before that, too.