Spicy Bacon Jam

Vegetarians will not agree, but bacon is the best. Smoky, salty, fatty pork just cannot be beat. Bacon is the most popular ingredient of the decade, of the century, of Pinterest. And why shouldn't it be? It's friggin' delicious. You can wrap it around things, you can cook other ingredients in its rendered fat, you can crumble it onto a salad, you can top a burger with it, you can make it the star of its own sandwich (hello, BLT), you can even make it an ingredient in donuts. Basically, it's v. versatile; so versatile, in fact, that you can make jam with it.

I hadn't heard of bacon jam until I had lunch at Butter. It was a featured ingredient in the Butter Burger 2.0 and it totally made the meal for me. Since I'm an insane burger lover, I decided I had to make my own bacon jam. For me, the only thing missing from Butter's bacon jam was some heat. I decided to make a spicy variation and it turned out so delicious that I had to share the recipe here. It's too good to keep to myself.
Ingredients [yields about 1.5 cups of bacon jam]:
¾ lb. bacon (about 15 slices)
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
It all starts with the bacon. Grab the stack and chop it into manageable chunks.
Grab a heavy pan - I like cast iron - and add in enough bacon to just cover the surface. Unless you have a gigantic pan, you'll need to do this in batches. Then, turn the heat on medium and let the fat render out and cook the bacon long enough so that it crisps up and goes all lovely and brown. Then, scoop the crisp bacon pieces out and let them drain on a paper towel.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat.
I put the fat into a little jar and saved it for another occasion.
Chop up an onion and mince up some garlic and chuck it into the pan.
The pan should still be sitting over a medium heat.
Sweat the onions out and let them cook until they're softened and lightly browned.
To the onions and garlic, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne, and chili powder. Stir it all in.
Sprinkle in the sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vinegar, and water. Stir it all together and then reduce the heat to low.
Let the mixture gently simmer until it reduces and thickens. Basically, it should look like a thick barbecue sauce is coating the onion pieces.
Chuck all of the crispy bacon into the pan and stir it in. Break up the bigger pieces with a spoon. Let it cook for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Then, let the mixture cool briefly.
Add the contents of the pan into a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency; smooth or chunky, it's up to you.
Scoop the jam into an air tight container and store in the fridge. Warm the jam up, or let it come to room temperature before using.
This stuff is addictive and delicious. I love the combination of sweet and savory and salty and smoky. It's so good. I highly suggest spreading it onto a thick slice of fresh baked bread. You will not regret it.
Here's the recipe page:


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