A few years ago I clipped a recipe from the Martha Stewart magazine for Bacon Jam. I have kept that recipe this whole time and drooled over it from time to time as I flip through my binders. I have a few white binders filled with recipes that I clipped from magazines, newspapers and ads.
That sounds like such an old thing to do these days. I rarely buy magazines anymore and the "clipping" that I did has changed to "pinning" on Pinterest.
On occasion I miss the feel of a paper magazine in my hand, the glossy pages and vibrant images; what I don't miss are the stacks and stacks of used magazines floating around in my home.
I was never one to keep a magazine for a length of time. I would take what I wanted and then share it with my neighbors and friends.
We went on a mini vacation this past weekend and I checked a book out of the library. As I sat there reading my book, I noticed that I was one of the only ones with a real book in my hand. Those to my left and right were using notepads or their phones. I kind of felt old for the first time.
This recipe had me so excited the whole time I was away. I made it on Friday so that when I returned on Monday to the kitchen, I could photograph it and get started on my week with Isabella.
While she was at lunch I worked fast-I had maybe 20 minutes-to eat, I mean, photograph the jam. I do have to add that by letting the jam sit for a few days in the fridge, it set up nicely. The thick jam sat perfectly on each cracker. I could taste the jalapeno in every bite and feel the chewiness of the bacon too. Delicious is what came to mind with each bite.
This combination was so good! If you don't want it to be spicy, then don't add the jalapeno's. I think they are what make the jam but I understand that not everyone enjoys spicy food.
To temper the kick from the jalapeno's, I served this with a bit of cream cheese on a cracker. In my mind I see this jam as the perfect companion to a hamburger, stuffed into meatballs or served warm on its own with a variety of crackers or veggies.
I could also see this being made as a vegetarian jam. The flavor is sweet and spicy like a chutney and the bacon could be omitted and substituted with zucchini or carrots. Something that is firm and would add body to the jam. I would cook the carrots and zucchini until al dente before adding to the final simmer stage. I will make it this way soon and let everyone now how it turned out.
I can't wait to make this again, and it will be soon, and to experiment using it in a variety of ways.
Recipe: Bacon, Jalapeno and Onion Jam
9 slices of thick bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices, cooked until brown (not crispy)
4 tablespoons of bacon grease, reserved from frying up bacon
1 large red onion, diced into 1/4 inch squares (yielded about 2.5 cups)
1 tablespoon mined garlic
dash of salt
1/4 cup diced jalapenos (this amount makes it spicy, use less if worried about the temperature)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (don't use imitation or artificial syrups)
3/4 cup brewed coffee
NOTE: I did not cook my bacon until it was crispy. I wanted it to be brown and chewy. This allows the liquids in the recipe a chance to flavor and marinate the bacon.
In a medium size saute pan, add 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease. Wait until it is hot enough to saute and add the diced onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are clear-8 minutes- on medium heat, stirring every once in a while. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a bit more grease.
In a medium sauce pan, add the vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, coffee, jalapeno's and bacon.
When the onions and garlic are done, add these to the medium sauce pan too.
Bring the jam to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low--the jam should simmer for 45 minutes. I would check the jam every 15 minutes and stir once.
You will know it is done because almost all of the liquid is gone when the jam is stirred.
Store jam in the refrigerator for one week.
I served the jam on crackers with cream cheese.