Bacon. One of nature’s most perfect creations. It’s good on its own, it’s good on sandwiches, it’s good sprinkled on things like salads or donuts, it’s good wrapped around other meats, it’s good chopped up and used in casseroles and as part of stuffings. Hell, it’s even good covered in chocolate. What other meat can boast that? A month ago I would have thought I’d just listed all the ways bacon can be prepared and eaten. I would have been wrong.
I recently came across a recipe for Bacon Jam. That’s right, bacon you can SPREAD on TOAST.
I found this recipe on a blog called Not Quite Nigella, which is a pretty fun food/recipe blog. I’ve linked directly to the bacon jam recipe; but in case you don’t want to follow the link, here’s the recipe:
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
- 500grams/1 pound smoked bacon (or use regular bacon and liquid smoke)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium brown onion sliced
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Tabasco sauce (according to taste)
- 1 cup coffee
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Black pepper to taste
- extra water
1. In a non stick pan, fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Using a pair of scissors cut into 1 inch pieces.
2. Fry the onion and garlic in the rendered bacon fat on medium heat until translucent.
3. Transfer the bacon, onion and garlic into a heavy based cast iron pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the water. Simmer for 2 hours adding 1/4 of a cup of water every 25-30 minutes or so and stirring.
4. When ready, cool for about 15-20 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds so that you leave some texture to the “jam” or of course you could keep whizzing and make it a smoother and more paste like.
If you’re going to attempt this recipe, I would suggest actually following my link because Nigella has some really helpful photos on her post. For the recipe itself there are a few things I would change/add/suggest. First, if you don’t have a heavy based cast iron pot, don’t worry. A large heavy based pot of any material will work, and even one that’s just cheap-o will work, you just might get a little stuck on burnt stuff in the middle at the bottom of the pot. Second, I’ve made this twice now and the first time I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand. Instead, I used a mixture of about half and half plain distilled vinegar and balsamic vinegar. The difference I’m noticing is that the apple cider bacon jam is a bit sweeter, whereas when I used the balsamic it was more savory. Third, when you’re transferring the mixture from the pot to the food processor, do so with a slatted spoon and then add a little of the liquid from the pot. The first time I made this, it took a couple of tries to get the mixture to process because I had to keep stopping, opening the lid and smooshing things down. But, don’t add all of the liquid unless you want a very soupy consistency.
And the best part about this stuff is that it’s not just good on toast. I added bacon jam to grilled cheese and it was fantastic. Stirring a spoonful or two into alfredo is excellent. And there are probably many, many other ways to use it. You just need to get creative.