I made this for the first time 4 days ago, and I’ve already had to give out the recipe twice…
Properly speaking, it’s Bacon, Bourbon & Maple Syrup Jam. Yuh. Sounds kind of fabulous, doesn’t it? It’s not jam at all, of course, but the consistency is about right and there’s no other good way to describe it.
It’s oniony, garlicky, tangy, bacony, sweet and smoky. I could eat it every day for every meal, but given the content, that’s probably a Bad Idea. A friend I gave it to decided it was best eaten straight from the jar with a teaspoon, but then, he’s a bloke and they do that stuff. It’s good on cheese sandwiches, any kind of barbecued meat, ham & eggs… in fact, anywhere you want a tasty, savoury condiment of some sort.
Drooling yet? Away we go, then.
700g (1½ pounds) mixed back and streaky bacon, cut into 5mm (¼ inch) shreds*
2 large red onions, peeled and finely diced
4 crushed cloves of garlic
½ tsp hot chilli powder
½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ cup bourbon
½ cup maple syrup (not the best quality, you just want sweetness and a hint of maple flavour)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup soft brown sugar
Sterilise three 400g (14 ounce) jam jars by running them through a hot dishwasher cycle, or boiling jars and lids in a pot of water on the stove for 10 minutes. Keep hot until you are ready to fill them.
Fry the bacon shreds in batches till brown and crispy, and the fat runs off them. Drain on paper towel to remove as much fat as possible. Leave some bacon fat in the frying pan, about 2 tablespoonfuls.
Fry the onions over a medium low heat until they soften, become translucent, and start to become slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the chilli powder and paprika and stir through.
Turn heat up to high, and add the maple syrup and bourbon to deglaze the pan – be careful, it’ll spit viciously. Scrape up all the yummy bacony fragments from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, and boil for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, stir through well and boil for another 3 minutes.
Add the bacon, stir through and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. The mixture will thicken gradually.
Remove pan from heat. If there is a slick of fat on the jammy mixture, you can if you wish remove this by straining. I didn’t see enough to worry about…
Transfer the hot bacon jam to the hot jars, and screw down the lids. Allow to cool a little, then refrigerate. I have no idea how long it’ll keep. Ours was eaten long before there was any chance of it going off. And in any case, it’s full of salt, sugar, alcohol and vinegar. Perfect preserving media, all of them…
It’s best heated up a bit in the microwave if you’re going to dollop it onto your meats. Pretty darn fine cold on a sandwich, too…
(Based on at least a million other recipes on the internet. Even I could never have thought of bacon jam…)
*Note: As you can see from the photo, I didn’t cut the bacon fine enough the first time round, which is why I’m suggesting shreds, which will integrate better into the mixture. My knife skills are not ninja-level, and I’ll cut the bacon with kitchen scissors. It’s nice and quick.
And that’s how you make bacon jam.