Maybe for others it’s been a week of planning, packing, flying and socializing. BlogHer Food in Atlanta, Eat, Write, Retreat in DC and Plate to Page in Germany. I miss meeting the bloggers that I’ve gotten to know professionally and ‘virtually’ but it’s helped immensely that I’ve had a great week with bacon and I have to say, bacon does make it better. Especially in this Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam. Oh my.
My last post detailed the how, the why and the wherefore of curing your own bacon and I’ve enjoyed bacon like no time I can remember. The bacon, grits and egg dish I made with it was amazing and simple BLT’s have been elevated to new heights. I can hardly stand the anticipation of later this summer when I’ll enjoy a sandwich made with bacon I’ve cured, a home grown tomato and some fresh baked bread; Heaven for sure!
Yesterday though I made true Southern biscuits from my friend Lana’s website at Never Enough Thyme. So I’ve christened this the McJamming Biscuit! Simply a biscuit, bacon jam, a poached egg and a slice of tomato. If McD’s actually did this, they would be swamped for breakfast, even by foodie purists!
I’ve already decided that bacon is going to be my holiday gift for friends and family. Every year I make everyone a basket of homemade goodies. It’s fun but it’s also a lot of work and part of that work is figuring out what to make for everyone that is unique and special. I’ve made candles and scones, candy and liqueur…certainly cookies too…but this year? Maple Bourbon Bacon will rule! Seemed almost too easy to give just a basket with 2 lbs of home cured bacon so I already know I’ll want to add something else. In keeping with what is becoming my own personal #BaconPalooza, I’ve decided to also include bacon jam.
I’ve found the perfect half pint jars and a friend already knows my plans…she’s asked if I would consider Christmas in June this year!
I wanted something with my favorite flavor combination; what I call sweet/heat. I’ve used balsamic vinegar which is a bit sweet so to get some heat into the mix; I balanced that with cumin. Perfect. While I’m sure it’s going to be great as an appetizer on bruschetta, I didn’t want it so hot that it seemed too much for breakfast, so tweaking the spices is important. Since I’m using my maple bourbon bacon for this batch…it would be a sin to not include a bit more bourbon, right?
You do not have to cure your own bacon first, but some good quality thick cut bacon is important to insure the end product has some heft to the bacon pieces.
- 1 pound good quality thick cut bacon; cut into 1 inch slices
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp of whole grain mustard
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 teaspoons Ancho chile powder
- 1 cup espresso (I used dried espresso with 1 cup of hot water)
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup bourbon
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- In a large, heavy skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until it's lightly browned and just starting to crisp. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent and starting to caramelize; 20-25 minutes. Add the spices the last 5 minutes; mix thoroughly.
- While the onion cooks, chop the bacon into smaller pieces; approximately ½" square.
- Return the bacon to the pan and add the brown sugar, mustard, coffee, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and bourbon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer over low heat stirring occasionally for approximately 2 hours, until the mixture is a thick, jam-like consistency and deep rich brown color.
- Let cool for 20 minutes; check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a food processor. Pulse about 20 times to get the desired consistency. Do not process until completely smooth; it should remain a bit chunky.
- Spoon into jars or storage containers and refrigerate overnight.