Monday, April 16, 2012

Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam

I have been wanting to make bacon jam for a while now.  It seems to be all the rage and I've noticed at least a half dozen recipes in various magazines.  I really liked the sound of this recipe though, as it was a bit different than the others.  It was originally Martha Stewart's... I'm sure she won't mind that I changed it just a bit.

Yield:  About 3 cups

1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium white onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, roasted, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brewed coffee
3 tbsp molasses

Cook bacon over medium-high until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.  Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Discard fat from skillet, reserving one tablespoon in the pan.  Add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.  Add the vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.  Add bacon and stir to combine.

Now, here is where Martha and I parted ways.  I didn't think it was necessary to cook this for four hours, as she suggested (and many reviewers on the recipe site agreed), so I decided to transfer this to a pot and cook for just about an hour.  However, if you want to cook it longer, either out of obedience to Martha or a desire to use your crockpot, feel free to do so.  The recipe recommended cooking on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, in a crockpot or slow cooker.

Either way, once the jam is ready (mine tasted glorious in just about 50 minutes), use a food processor or immersion blender to coarsely chop the jam.  Do not blend for too long, as you do still want chunks and/or recognizable bacon pieces.  Allow jam to cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers for up to 4 weeks.

Tips:  This is a wonderful combination of flavors - the coffee, molasses and vinegar give it a deep, rich flavor.  It was delicious served on crostini, as seen below.   I also tried it on pancakes.  And, of course, it makes a nice gift or offering at a party in cute little mason jars.  Enjoy!

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