Joan Emerson's Bacon Jam
1-1/2 pounds lean, thick-sliced bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces [about one-inch]
3 large sweet onions, diced [use Vidalia onions if they are in season]
2 leeks, diced
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper [optional]
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke [optional]
1 cup freshly-brewed coffee
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Cook the diced bacon over medium heat, stirring as needed, until the bacon just begins to turn crispy, about fifteen minutes. Remove from pan.
Cook the onions, leeks, and garlic in the bacon grease, stirring as needed, until they soften, about five minutes.
Add the brown sugar; return the cooked bacon to the pan; season with pepper, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke.
Add the coffee, balsamic vinegar, and half a cup of hot water. Bring to a boil.
Cook over low heat for about one hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add a small amount of water if mixture becomes too dry as it cooks.
When mixture is thick and onions are caramelized, remove from heat.
Cool slightly; transfer to food processor. Pulse a time or two to obtain a thick, chunky consistency, like a chutney or a tapenade.
Refrigerate the jam.
This recipe will make approximately four cups of bacon jam
The above recipe is the one I regularly use, but the recipe can be adapted to suit individual tastes.
Substitute shallots for the leeks OR substitute an onion for the leeks
Vary the amount of garlic to taste
Adjust amount of red pepper, liquid smoke to taste; omit the liquid smoke if you prefer
Substitute bourbon for the coffee, using 1/2 cup bourbon and 1/2 cup water
* * * * * * * * *
The uses for bacon jam are as varied as your imagination:
Warm some jam in the microwave; spread on buttered toast or English muffins
Top burgers with jam
Add jam to grilled cheese
Add a scoop of jam to scrambled eggs
Mix jam with softened cream cheese to make a dip, serve with crackers
Add jam to a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich
Top a baked potato
Thanks, Joan! Who's up for trying this with me?