Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bacon Jam is the Jam!

So sorry I have not posted in a while, but I have taken up painting and it is occupying a lot of my time.  It is my new passion.  Anyway,  this weekend, we are hosting an engagement party for our best friend's daughter and future son in love and I have been busy in the kitchen preparing things that I can do in advance.  They all look so good.

The house is all spit shined and polished and fall decorations are all in place.  It is supposed to be a beautiful day (yahoo), so we will put tables and chairs out under the trees for guests to enjoy a beautiful Tennessee September day.  The patio is another option for guests.  I love having options, don't you?

Today, I made this spectacular recipe for Bacon Jam that I found on Pinterest from The Kitchen Wife.  When we hosted our son's engagement party on July 4th weekend, I made fresh fig jam.  Sadly, there are no figs available here now, so I had to go with something different.   Well, finding this bacon jam was the answer and let me tell you, IT IS THE JAM!  WOW!!

The fig jam was served with goat cheese and crackers.  It was beyond delicious.  Hopefully, this will be just as successful - and I'm pretty sure it's going to be!  I mean, bacon?  Seriously?  Cooked with onions and wonderful spices?  It smelled so good while I was cooking it down, I could hardly stand it!  Oh my goodness!

The Kitchen Wife said it is good spread on a hamburger,  on a BLT, or as a pizza topping.  I can only imagine, because I could eat it by the spoonful.  It is amazing.  Here is what you need.

1 pound bacon (actually most bacon comes in 12 ounce packages now instead of a pound, but that             works)

2 medium yellow onions, or l large onion, peeled and sliced
2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP rendered bacon fat
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP vinegar (she called for white, I used apple cider and it worked great)
1 1/2 tsps thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put the package of bacon in the freezer for about 15 minutes to make it easier to slice.  (I just took a package out of the freezer and sliced it, worked great).  First, remove the bacon from the package and cut across the bacon in 1/2 inch slices to make lardons.  I had nice big strips of sliced bacon because it was frozen together.  Don't be concerned, as it cooks it quickly falls apart into separate pieces.

Put the cold bacon into a cold skillet to help render the fat from the bacon.  Turn the heat on to medium and allow the bacon to cook until all the fat is rendered.  It takes about 30 minutes.  The bacon will foam as it cooks - that is the fat being rendered.  It will look like this.
When I read the directions, I wondered if I knew when it was foaming.  It's like being in labor, you will know when it happens.  :)  You want to cook the bacon until all the fat has been rendered and the bacon and the fat are deep, dark brown - about the same color.  Watch the bacon, because when it gets to this point, it can burn VERY quickly.  As soon as it got very dark, I started removing the bacon to a bowl lined with a paper towel so it would drain.  Work fast, you don't want to ruin this lovely concoction!

While your bacon is cooking, peel and slice the onion very thin.  I cut my onion in half first, and then sliced it.  That way, it doesn't roll all over the place while slicing.

After you have removed the bacon from the pan, pour the excess bacon fat into a separate bowl (there was a LOT).  Do not discard.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.  Add the sliced onions and cook over medium heat until they are translucent and soft.  They will be very brown.

Add the brown sugar, vinegar, half of the thyme, cayenne, a little salt and pepper.  Stir into the onions.

Chop the bacon very fine and add to the pan.  Stir all together.  Add 1/2 cup of water and let simmer until the water is almost gone.  She said 30 minutes, but mine was done in 20.  I have a gas stove, don't know if that makes the difference.  Just watch and don't let it burn.

Now, add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and the rest of the thyme.  Cook another 15 minutes, or until the liquid is almost gone.  Mine was done in 10 minutes.  The jam should be very dark like in the picture.  Yum.

Taste for seasoning and add a little salt and pepper if needed.

When you are finished, you have this beautiful, dark brown pan of bacon and onions that smells absolutely divine from the spices that have been added.  When I tasted it, it was sweet and savory and smoky all at the same time - with BACON!  Did I say bacon?  Oh yeah.

My BFF was here and I had her taste it.  She declared it divine and I looked at her and said "One jar won't be enough, will it?"  I had better make another.  And, so I did.  This should keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks  - if it lasts that long.  (Bring the jam to room temperature before serving.  There will be white spots of fat in it otherwise.) I can see more of this in my future.

One recipe makes 1 pint jar of bacon jam.  We are going to have this with goat cheese and crackers on Saturday.  I will let you know the crowd reaction.  I think it's going to be good.  Really, really good.

This would be a great housewarming gift, hostess gift, teacher appreciation gift, or Christmas gift.  In a basket with other goodies?  Wow!  Give it a try.  I think you are gonna love it.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

My grandmother ate bacon every day of her life and lived to be 96.  How bad could it be then?