Someone was selling Bacon Jam at the farmer's market yesterday, and smartly sampling it as part of the marketing strategy. It was sweet and spicy, smoky and bacony. It was also $8 for a smallish jar, which meant it was time for me to try experimenting with my own, low-budget version. The interwebs yielded two good base recipes (and food porny pictures): boozy bacon jam from spoonforkbacon and bacon jam from not quite nigella. From there, I tweaked based on what was hanging out in my kitchen, and also for my preference for sweet over spicy. If I did it again, I would probably make it a little less sweet - probably less maple syrup, and maybe not the balsamic - but overall, I'm pretty happy with it.
1 pound Boar's Head (naturally smoked) bacon, strips cut into about 3 pieces each
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground szechuan peppercorns
¾ cup sweet bourbon (i used maker's mark)
2/3 cup strong brewed coffee
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a dutch oven over medium heat, render the bacon for 6-8 minutes (it won't be done yet). Remove bacon and set aside.
2. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan; add butter. Once butter has melted, add onio, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is soft, 10-15 minutes.
3. Add shallot, garlic and spices and sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Return the bacon to the pot and stir until well combined. Add the bourbon to the bacon mixture and cook the liquid down for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. If it looks dry, add a bit of water.
6. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Skim off any fat/grease that has formed at the top and discard (patient version: allow to cool, refrigerate overnight, then skim off the congealed layer of fat... I tend to go with the impatient version).
8. Pour the mixture into a food processor and process to desired consistency.
9. Serve warm or store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, until ready to use.