Slow Cooker Bacon Jam

It seemed a good idea to start the new year with this fave.

Bacon jam is wicked tasty spread on a cracker or crusty bread, but, as we shall see later on this week it pairs beautifully with duxelles as a spread for Beef Wellington, which was our Christmas dinner.

The original recipe comes from Martha Stewart about a dozen years ago, but I have, of course, added a few things here and there and I think it a real treat.

•36 oz bacon
•6 cups diced sweet onion
•12 cloves garlic, minced
•2 jalapeños, sliced
•Dan-O’s Seasoning (for the bacon)
•3/4 cup cider vinegar
•3/4 cup brown sugar
•6 tbsp maple syrup
•2 cups espresso
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp pepper
•1/2 tsp curry powder
•3/4 tsp Aleppo pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

To make the bacon, heat your oven to 325º and arrange the bacon in a single layer in a large rimmed pan (a turkey roaster works a treat here).

Season the bacon – I used Dan-O’s seasoning, but steak seasoning works a treat, too.

Bake for 30 minutes, turning the bacon over after 15 minutes, until it is nicely crispity.

Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined platter and strain that lovely bacon fat to a jar and stash in the fridge when cool for use at a later time, but save out one tablespoon.

Note: this is a slow cooker recipe, but if you do not have a slow cooker with a sauté setting, you will need to get another pan – a large skillet or Dutch oven – involved.

Heat that one tablespoon of saved bacon fat on sauté, if your cooker has that setting, or over medium high heat in a skillet, then add the onion, jalapeño, and garlic.

Add the onion, jalapeño, and garlic to the tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan and cook until the onion is translucent – about ten minutes.

Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for about two minutes.

Stir in the bacon to combine and, if you have not been using a multi setting cooker, transfer all to a six-quart slow cooker.

Cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is thickened and syrupy, about four hours.

Note: my old slow cooker ran hot, so back in the day, mine was ready in about two hours; so go by the way your cooker runs, and check the jam often. My updated multi-setting cooker took the full four hours.

Once the jam is cooked down to your liking, use your immersion blender to chop it all up to a coarse blend. Don’t worry about the odd strip of bacon, that is a bonus detail.

No immersion blender? Bummer. Transfer the jam to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until you are pleased with the texture.

Transfer to jars, seal tightly, and store in the fridge for up to four weeks.

I used canning jars, and this batch gave me three half-pint and one 12 ounce jar, which I used for the Beef Wellington.

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