“Hold it right there,” you’re thinking. “Bacon jam? Jam, like the sweet spread one puts on morning toast for breakfast?”
Well, not exactly. But pretty darn close. This—let’s call it a condiment—is TOTALLY DELICIOUS. And worthy of being eaten with a crusty piece of bread, on pork chops or roast chicken—or even spooned right out of the jar and into your mouth—so get creative with it. I could see a spoonful going into a pot of chili or tomato soup, in a batch of marinara or maybe even whisked into a vinaigrette.
I am aware that for some bacon, as an ingredient, may have run its course now that it’s made its way into doughnuts, cakes and vodkas. But you know what, I’m okay with bacon. Bacon and I have a healthy relationship. We don’t see much of each other, but when we do, it’s quality. I bring out the best in bacon and in return, bacon will always have a place in my culinary repertoire.
Let me tell you that this jam is dead simple to make and you likely have many of the ingredients already on hand, just waiting to come together and make your house smell amazing. I chose to finish this jam off in the slow cooker, but if you don’t have one (really, why don’t you have one? they’re so great!) you can simply finish it off in a saucepan on the stove. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scorch.
Feel free to play around with the flavors. But, taste as you go along, especially if spice isn’t your thing. I increased a few things and toned down a few others, but overall, I think this batch of bacon jam is perfect and I can’t wait to make more. It yields about 2 1/2 cups of jam, so please share with your bacon-loving friends and family. They’ll appreciate it!
Yields about 2 1/2 cups.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook, stirring occasionally and rendering all of the fat. Tip: You want the bacon to be slightly crispy, but not burned to a crisp. This will take a while due to the volume of bacon being cooked. Just be patient and enjoy the aroma filling your kitchen.
When the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain more of the fat. Pour off the remaining bacon fat from the pan, reserving for later. Tip: Seriously, save it. It’s pure gold. Put in an empty jam jar and put it in your fridge. Use it to fry potatoes or anything else you want to infuse with bacon-y goodness!
Return your skillet back to the heat and add the butter, onions and garlic. Let them begin to sweat, stirring and cooking on medium heat until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Tip: Try not to bring too much color to the onions.
Add the salt and pepper (if using), along with the brown sugar. Stir well and allow the sugar to melt into the onions. Resist the urge to stop there and just eat the caramelized onions. Mmmm. Remember you have a mission and forge on toward your goal!
After a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and let the mixture come to a boil. Toss in the reserved bacon and stir to combine. Now is the time when you can put the mixture in a slow cooker, like I did. If you use a slow cooker, cook on low heat for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If you don’t have a slow cooker, place mixture in a saucepan and cook on low heat on your stove top. You may find that you’ll cook it for a shorter period of time on the stove top, but honestly, I don’t know. I love the convenience of a slow cooker. Just turn it on and walk away!
After 3 hours, use your immersion blender to blend the mixture to the desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender or food processor will work just as well. You’re going for a jam-like consistency, with visible bits of bacon running throughout. Tip: Don’t go too far or you’ll just have bacon paste, and that doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing, does it?
After blending, put mixture in a saucepan and cook on the stove over medium heat until most (if not all) of the liquid has evaporated. You want spreadable, gorgeous bacon jam here. Be sure to stir along the way and adjust the heat as necessary. You don’t want to scorch it after you’ve gone to all this work to produce something so lovely! Place mixture in a sealed container (or share with your friends and family). This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
~Sara, Sara’s Kitchen
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