Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bacon Jam

Ok. This post will feature a couple of the more unappealing images I've taken so far. All I can promise you is that however it gross it might look, it tastes amazing. Unless you think Bacon is gross - and if so, this probably not the place for you. So, Bacon Jam: It's pretty much what it sounds like. A Jam-like spread made out of bacon. One of my esteemed colleagues (who needs to start up his own food blog) discovered Bacon Jam on a food network program which is escaping me at the moment. He made his own, and it was awesome, and I felt compelled to give it a go. As an aside, if you're on the west coast, and can access Skillet Street Food - I expect you to try it and report back. They make serve what looks like creative, delicious food out of Airstream vans. That is awesome.

This is my first attempt; I was pleased with the result, but there is certainly room for improvement. It's super easy, and basically boils down to (no pun intended, but I kind of wish it was): rendering bacon, carmelizing onions in the rendering bacon, and then making a coffee/vinegar reduction on top of everything. You'll need:

Bacon (I prefer uncured;  smoked works nicely)
Onion (Usually spanish)
Brown Sugar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar

So, I started with some Coleman's uncured hickory smoked bacon. Mostly because they're the only uncured bacon my grocer carries, but I've always been happy with the results.  I started with half a package, and cut the strips into roughly 1/4" slices, and tossed everything into a preheated (medium-low) 2 qt saucepan  with finely chopped onion (1/2 a large onion; I should have used more). You're probably better off rendering the bacon first - I got a big goopy mess for awhile, but all was well.

I lightly salted and peppered the bacon/onion mix, and cooked for 30 - 35 min until I had a nice, evenly browned bacony-carmelized mix, which I sadly neglected to take pictures of. At this point, I added a small cup of coffee, about a 1/3" cup of brown sugar, 1/3" cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, and liberal splash of balsamic for color and that good tang you don't quite get out of the Apple Cider. I also added a little bit of my chili powder.
Once I had everything in the saucepan, I pureed everything with my kitchen wand; it probably wasn't necessary until later on - for better texture. Then I simmered until I had a jam-like consistency, and transferred to a small container to chill until use. After 10 minutes, I poured some extraneous fluid off the top - I didn't add enough onion and other to hold onto the bacon fat. Otherwise, the result was delicious, and I look forward to eating it on anything remotely suitable during the next week.

The finished product after chilling, and transfer to a more complimentary container.

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