Oh. I know.
Have you ever had bacon jam? I had had it two times in the last ten years before I decided to make my own. I just kept waiting for a restaurant near me to have it on the menu or wait to stumble upon it in a store. But it never happened. And my soul was sad from the wanting of it. It tastes like a sweet and smoky intense bacon spread. It is slap-your-own face-as-you-drool good.
So, the other day I decided to just google a recipe. It turns out that bacon jam is a snap to make. If you can manage to not eat all of the bacon before putting it into your crock pot. I do believe that is why this recipe calls for one and a half pounds of bacon. We all know bacon comes in one pound packages. So, you will need to buy two packages. Little Miss Martha Stewart (from whom this recipe is from, I just changed a few ingredients and altered a few steps) must have not been able to resist that other half a pound of bacon, either. And who can blame her?
The best part about this recipe, besides the heavenly taste, is that it is made in the crockpot. Can I hear a hallelujah? Or is your throat still sore from the delightful screams of the very idea of bacon jam? I hear ya. It is pretty darn wonderful.
1 1/2 pounds of bacon
1 diced onion
1 minced clove of garlic (or 1 of those frozen packets)
2 Tbsp. of red pepper spread (Trader Joe’s carries one and most grocery stores carry a version)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1 Tbsp. Brandy
1/4 cup good maple syrup
This recipe is going to take about six hours to make. It is definitely not hard. Basically, you just need to be able to stir it every so often in the crockpot. But plan to be home during the time of its creation. You cannot leave it and go.
Line a baking sheet with foil and line the foil with one layer of bacon closely touching each other but not overlapping. Place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bacon for 20-23 minutes. You want it crunchy but not burnt. Once the bacon is done, remove to a paper towel-lined towel. Repeat until all of the bacon is cooked.
In a small skillet add three tablespoons of the bacon grease. Turn stovetop burner to medium heat. Add diced onion. Sauté for seven minutes. Add garlic. Cook an additional minute. Drain bacon fat from cooked onions and garlic. Add onions and garlic to the crockpot.
Add coffee, brown sugar, vinegar, maple syrup, brandy, and red pepper spread to the crockpot. Crumble bacon pieces into the crockpot. Add red pepper flakes. Stir.
Cover crockpot and cook mixture for two hours on high (stirring every thirty to forty five minutes).
Uncover and cook an additional two and a half hours uncovered (stirring every thirty minutes) until thick.
Turn off the crockpot. Skim any fat off of the top of the bacon jam. I just take a spoon and quickly go over it. At this point you can add the jam to your food processor to blend it or just use a handy dandy immersion blender like me. I just pulse it directly in the crockpot with my immersion blender for about a minute. Stir. If there is more grease on top, skim it off. Let jam cool. And now put it in an air tight container.
It fits perfectly in a 16 oz. container or you can put it in cute little glass jars. I reuse my pimento jars, starbucks frappucino jugs, and sundried tomato jars for such purposes. I like to quickly make a label with old scrap paper and mark it with a sharpie when I start the jam with the date on it so I know when I need to use it by. These would make great little gifts. Put the jar of jam in the refrigerator until ready to use. I use mine within two weeks stored in the refrigerator (although Martha Stewart suggests it might keep for four weeks, I worry about food safety).
This is amazing on crostini, turkey sandwiches (my favorite thing in the world, recipe below), hamburgers, as a pizza sauce, with brie on crackers, on steaks, eggs, biscuits, fingers… You name it. It is delicious on it. I just reheat a little of it in the microwave for twenty to thirty seconds when I am ready to use it.
For the turkey sandwich that I love, I heat up the amount of bacon jam I want for fifteen to thirty seconds depending upon how many sandwiches I am making. I layer bacon jam on both sides of a Chibatta roll I have cut in half. Layer a good amount of good quality turkey on the bottom part of the roll (I use shaved honey turkey from the deli). Place a scattering of sundried tomatoes that were in oil on the turkey. Lay one slice of havarti cheese on top. Close up that baby and enjoy! If your throat is still raw from the screams, bacon jam will soothe it. It is kind of miraculous stuff. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.