Have you ever heard of bacon jam? Or bacon marmalade? A quick search on the internet will yield a slew of hits. Still, this stuff isn't replacing your orange, strawberry, or grape standards just yet. I'm thinking it should. Perhaps it's because I'm not really a sweet jam lover (though I do adore Jam According to Daniel), this savory salty herby "jam" stole my heart.
It's made in the way that most jams and marmalades are made. You simply combine ingredients on the stove and cook them down for minutes...or hours. I sifted through a bunch of recipes, some calling for three hours on the stove. I settled for cooking the bacon, herbs, flavorings, and onions for 30-40 minutes. The jam was a desirable consistency and incredibly flavorful even though I severely cut the cooking time. You can let it cool (or don't!) and spread it on toast and, if you're feeling up to it, you can place a perfectly fried sunny-side egg on top with a sprinkle of snipped chives. It's a perfect little breakfast, if you ask me.
It will be fun to play around with herbs and seasonings with this one. More maple syrup, rosemary, smoked sea salt, perhaps?
Bacon Jam (adapted from Martha Stewart and other places)1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced small
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1 Tablespoon of thyme, finely chopped
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet (reserve for another use); add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat. Add bacon and thyme and stir to combine. Keep cooking over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until bacon gets soft and almost creamy and flavors have married (taste it!), about 30-40 minutes. It will look quite dark, but should not have burned. Cook a little longer if it has not reached desired consistency. You can pulse it in a food processor or keep it as is (I did not process it, as I enjoyed the texture).