A few years ago I was a different person. Aren’t we all a little different than we were a few years ago? I didn’t know how to make croissants. I liked boxed macaroni and cheese. I wore make up every day even if I was only going to the grocery store. I wouldn’t eat sweet and salty things together. I like to think that I’ve grown up since then. My palate has matured, my preferences improved. I am probably being ridiculous.
A few years ago I saw a recipe for Bacon Jam. Apparently it was a big delicious fad that originated in Seattle, where I was then living. It was the food child of two obsessions: bacon and hip food trucks. But I wasn’t for it at all. First off: the name. Bacon. Jam? Who put those two words together? I couldn’t imagine. Secondly, I was tired of the bacon craze. I love bacon as much as the next person and much more than most. I really enjoy it; it’s a wonderful food. But bacon obsession gets on my nerves. There are other great meats out there people!
(Last time I was the Lorax of over looked holidays, now it’s under appreciated cured meats. Oy vey.)
Anyway, bacon jam did not appeal to me. But croissants are one of my favorite things to make. Last time I ate boxed mac and cheese I threw it away five bites in. I wear make up maybe twice a month and sometimes I dip waffle fries in strawberry jam. I’m different than I used to be and I think that’s a good thing. I’m so happy I change. It means that I give things a second chance. Like bacon jam! I really like to think of it as a bacon relish or bacon spread. Because throwing the word “jam” in there weirds me out. Treat it as a condiment, and you can’t go wrong. This recipe is more sweet than some I’ve seen, but not as sweet as others which is a nice middle ground. If the word jam is making you think of syrupy sweet preserves and that isn’t your goal, feel free to lower the sugar content for a more savory spread. But I think the smoky sweet taste is great! The vinegar and cayenne helps cut the sweetness and gives it a nice tart spicy kick.
This stuff is exciting! I devoted most of the hour it was simmering away on the stove top to coming up with as many ways to use it as I could. Put it on burgers, in a vinaigrette for salad, stuffed in mushrooms, mixed with hummus and crackers. Spread on flat breads with blue cheese crumbles and diced pears, mix it in with brussels sprouts or green beans. Topped on chicken breasts or scallops…Mmm. I’m planning on using this batch to create some sort of delicious baked brie recipe for a Thanksgiving dinner appetizer. And it makes your kitchen smell great. (Obviously, it’s bacon :P)
My only regret is that my
abhorrent budding photography skills really don’t know how to capture this in a picture. It just…I don’t know how to make caramelized-onion-bacon-balsamic-get-me-a-spoon flavor to look pretty. Your mouths will forgive me, I promise.
- 1 lb bacon, diced
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons grainy brown mustard
- ¼ cup coffee
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- In a heavy bottomed skillet, cook bacon until soft but not crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon grease, but drain the rest. With the reserved grease, cook the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
- Add bacon back to the pan and add the vinegars, coffee, maple syrup, brown sugar, cayenne, pepper, mustard, and fresh rosemary.
- Stirring occasionally, let the spread simmer softly for 1 hour. You want to cook off most of the liquid, leaving it syrupy and thick. When you scrape a spoon across the bottom of the pan, it should leave a distinct trail. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a container to store in the fridge. If you prefer a smoother spread, pulse in a food processor until you have a desired consistency.
- Store in the fridge for two weeks.
- It can be eaten at room temperature, cold, or warm.