You know food is going to make you happy when it smiles at you (see photo that follows). Probably could’ve made a buck selling a smiling egg yolk on eBay, but honey? There was no way I was walking away from this breakfast. And even if I did, there were twelve people waiting to take over the job for me this morning.
My love of bacon has been pretty well documented (proof of my bacon-obsession) but I can honestly tell you that today’s recipe, Bacon Jam, is the my favorite way I’ve ever eaten it.
I’m just going to say right here -at the beginning- that this is one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever written. I’ve flogged my brain for hours, but the fact is, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe how core-shakingly good this bacon jam is. It is umami jam. It is Ooo-Mommy jam.
Since every way I conceived to ‘splain this jam ends up sounded like a big, fat cliche in my brain (lip-smacking, mouth-watering, etc…) I thought a few anecdotes about the power of this Ooooh-Mommy, holy-cow, sweet-crappy-pappy-this-is-good jam might do the job.
• While this jam was cooking, a neighbor (who we haven’t met in the three years we’ve lived here) came over to introduce himself. He didn’t say as much, but I assume the smell drew him since he kept looking over at the stove where my pot of bacon jam bubbled away. He left as a friend. He’ll be back. I’m sure of it.
• I was chatting with my friend, Krysta, who lives on the opposite coast, telling her how the scent of the cooking jam made me want to gnaw my own leg off at the ankle. She realized she had the ingredients and decided to make it right then and there. Within an hour she was drooling all over the place. Ask her. She’ll tell you.
• When my beloved, The Evil Genius, tasted Bacon Jam for the first time, his eyes rolled back into his head and he said, “Ooooh- Mommy.” While my husband is a food guy, those are reactions that he just doesn’t have. That equals spectacular food.
• We had a grown-up slumber party last night (Okay, not just grown-ups. Four adults and nine children. The kids were tucked in and it was party time, Foodie With Family style. We were hard-core. We broke out the Gilbert and Sullivan and sang along. You haven’t played a drinking game until you have to take a sip every time someone in ‘Pirates of Penzance’ says ‘duty’!) This morning, breakfast was toasted slabs of fresh homemade bread smeared with bacon jam that we heated in a cast-iron frying pan next to sunny side up eggs. Our friends and their kids have now moved into our house.
Speaking of these friends… While we collectively munched our breakfasts, our dear Daytons, Pamela and Jon, helped us hash out just why a Bacon Jam topped piece of toast with a fried egg was superior to the traditional fare of bacon, eggs, and toast. Jon observed that with Bacon Jam and fried egg on toast, you get the taste of bacon, egg, and toast in every bite. Because of his keen insight, he got double rations and the ability to choose the keyword the next time we all indulge in our Gilbert and Sullivan proclivities.
This post is special for one other reason. The aforementioned Krysta happens to have a pretty stylin’ food blog. You have read Evil Chef Mom, right? I really did tease her about the salty, sweet, meaty, maple-y, coffee-tinged dutch-oven-of-joy that I had just created, and she really did inventory her pantry and chill-chest and make her own batch. We waxed rhapsodic over our new discovery. And more than that, we decided that we both needed to post this at the very same time, because Bacon Jam turned us into giddy little teenage girls who buy and wear matching Johnny Depp* t-shirts. Hop on over to Evil Chef Mom and read Krysta’s reflections on the recipe. She tried the recipe using Martha Stewart’s original instructions (using a slow-cooker.)
*Or somebody. But probably Johnny Depp. Because he could be the Bacon Jam of actors. Or not. But probably he is.
You can join the Bacon Jam Club, Krysta and I aren’t exclusive. We want the whole world to know this joy. Just be warned, once you try it, it’s like the mob. There’s no going back.
Bacon Jam (a.k.a. Oooh-Mommy Jam)
Yield: About 6 cups. (You can easily halve this recipe.)
- 3 pounds bacon
- 4 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife or a pan and peeled
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups very strong brewed black coffee
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cut the bacon slices into one inch strips. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the bacon is browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a heat-proof jar with a tight-fitting lid.*
*Save the bacon drippings in the refrigerator. That’s too much flavor to trash!
Place the Dutch oven back over the medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic.
Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are mostly translucent.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and drop heat again, this time to low.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil hard for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the browned bacon into the onions and liquid.
Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure things aren’t sticking, adding 1/4 cup of water if it seems to be drying out. When the onions are meltingly soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove the dutch oven from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to the work bowl of a food processor that has been fitted with a blade. Fit the lid in place and pulse several times or until the Bacon Jam is a spreadable consistency. Scrape into a jar (or jars) or a container with a tight fitting lid.
Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Can be served cold, room temperature or warmed.
I do believe that breakfast just doesn’t get much better than this…
The post above is taken from Rebecca Lindamood’s blog archives. For her most recent recipes, kitchen tips and parenting adventures, visit FoodieWithFamily.com. Rebecca also writes a monthly column in the Record-Eagle’s Food section.