I wanted to share an incredibly successful experiment I made over the holidays. I decided I wanted to make a homemade gift for my friends, and I wanted to give them something they could bring to a party or keep all to themselves at home for a few weeks. After debating between pickles or a jam, really, savory or sweet, I got an amazing idea of combining both types of tastes and flavors and making a bacon jam! I perused the internet for some recipes, and ended up (as usual) combining a few into my perfectly customized combo. It was a huge hit, and I made enough to end up with 3 extra jars that I brought into work which didn’t last the morning.
Here’s a quick video I took, Instagram style, of a batch I made in my mother’s lovely Le Creuset.
This recipe is beautifully simple, just some key ingredients, chopping, and patience. The outcome is sooo worth it, so don’t be daunted by the amount of time it takes to cook it down.
Ingredients: (Makes about 2 cups, and can be easily multiplied)
- 1lb thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces or smaller – I got apple-wood smoked flavor, it was perfection.
- 2 small sweet onions, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. dijon mustard (Grey Poupon is the bomb!)
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 c. whiskey – I used Jack Daniels and it was purrfect. If you’re feeling fancier I recommend Bulleit bourbon.
- Salt & Pepper to taste
I like getting everything all ready to go and add in when I cook, so I chop everything ahead of time and put them in bowls. I know it makes for more dishes, but it just makes the whole process easier, especially if it’s a new recipe you’re working with.
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven (like I mentioned before, I used my mother’s gorgeous Le Creuset) over medium-high to high heat. Add the bacon and cook it down, stirring occasionally and letting it get all nice and brown and crispy. This takes about 15-20 minutes. A noticeable amount of fat will be apparent, do not get rid of that good stuff! It’s going to be a huge part of the end flavor.
Once nice and browned, add the onions and the shallots, and cook until softened. This shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes. Then add the liquid ingredients – syrup, vinegar, dijon, worcestershire and whiskey/bourbon, then season with s&p. At this point, you can add an additional 1/2 of water, but honestly, I wouldn’t. This is already very liquidy and I personally like the flavor that it’s packed with and don’t necessarily think it needs to be watered down at all. If anything, maybe a 1/4 c. of water to add more liquid to cook down.
Bring your savory delicious mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Stirring occasionally is recommended, but not completely necessary. You’re going to let it cook about an hour at least, mine took about 2 and a half, until it gets a syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat, and let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
Now slather it onto a piece of crusty bread with some brie or camembert cheese to reap the gloriousness that you have sown. After you’ve eaten about a pound of this, for taste-testing purposes, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. I put mine into 4oz. mason jars as gifts. This can be kept for up to a month!!!
Some things I recommend putting it on –
- Baguette with brie or camembert (soft cheeses)
- Egg sandwiches
- Your significant other
- A spoon
I love this recipe and how easy it is to make, and how people LOVE it so so so much. To be completely honest, as well, you could totally make this vegetarian by removing the bacon and creating a fantastic savory onion jam. The bacon is obviously the best part of the original recipe, but the flavors you add together, which are all super strong, they just come together so beautifully and I think it would be just as fantastic with just the onion and shallots if you want to satisfy some vegetarian friends.
So, happy munching and I hope you enjoy!