Sunday, November 28, 2010
Bacon Makes Everything Taste Better...
...practically! Who doesn't agree? And if you don't, you're crazy!
The very words bacon jam bring two reactions. Either sheer delight or sheer disgust. Hey, don't knock it until you try it! This would be wonderful on a warm biscuit or a piece of buttered toast or even a juicy burger. The below recipe is doubled because since it takes quite a bit of time it's best to get your times worth.
Yields 5 Cup
3 pounds of slice bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (this doesn't have to be the top quality thick sliced bacon, in fact the cheaper stuff is great for this because it's usually sliced really thin)
4 medium yellow onions, diced small
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled (I use the jarred chopped garlic)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cup brewed black coffee
I used my electric frying pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned (about 20 minutes, and I had to do this in batches since I doubled the recipe. That's right...three pounds of love!). With a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Save the rest in a jar in the fridge. Bacon fat is delicious in all sorts of things!
In the skillet add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent (about 6 minutes). Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and black coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping all of the brown bits (about 2 minutes). Add bacon and stir to combine and slowly simmer on low (simmer setting) in the pan for 1 hour. The slow simmering intensifies the flavor. There will be quite a bit of juice leftover after simmering. Turn up heat and simmer at medium heat until the juice has reduced to a nice syrup.
Shut off heat and put mixture into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Your mixture will have a jam texture. I then put the jam back into the pan on warm setting and added 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar. After tasting the jam it was nice and sweet and the extra added cider gives it a bit of a zing.
I heated up water, sterilized my half pint jars, lids, rings, and all utensils then I brought my water bath to a boil. Putting the mixture back in the pan kept it warm. You want warm jam to put into the warm sterile jars. I filled to the threads (you need head-space) and put on the sterile lids (boiled these in a separate pan...that's what my Mom always did) and screwed on a ring until finger tight.
I put my filled jars into the water bath and brought it to a boil. Once it started boiling I timed 11 minutes. Normally at sea level the processing time is only 5 minutes, but I am 6,000 feet above and I had to add a minute processing for each 1,000 feet. It seemed to do the trick since all of my bacon jam jars sealed!
Neato! I wrote out cute labels I had with the name and ingredients. I can't wait to give these as gifts. I think I'm going to have to make another batch. I don't think that 5 jars are enough to give out. I tried some on a little bagel and it was very good and rich. A little will do, but that's all you need to savor the wonderful taste of this delectable jam! Enjoy!