Monday, February 20, 2012

Slow Cooker Bacon Jam

After seeing that they put bacon marmalade on top of ice cream at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in NYC, I decided to see if I could make it at home. It didn't take very long to find Martha Stewart's recipe for this savory bacon spread that looked too simple and easy not to try. I texted my brother Chris about it, and he immediately responded with "Let's do this!!", then announced that it was time to go to The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen. And since I already had just about all of the ingredients on hand, this was clearly the perfect Sunday afternoon cooking experiment. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect. When you think of jam or marmalade, you usually think of something incredibly sweet and sticky and gooey, right? Well, it turned out to be a little syrupy, but not sticky and gooey and just slightly sweet. But most importantly, it's DELICIOUS! It's seriously the perfect combination of salty, savory, sweet and just the slightest bit tangy. SO good! I should have made a double batch!
Serve it for brunch on grilled or toasted slices of crusty bread, make a pizza with it along with a few sliced cherry tomatoes, and yes, DEFINITELY serve it with vanilla ice cream!

 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
 1/2 cup cider vinegar
 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
 3/4 cup brewed coffee

 In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet (reserve for another use); add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Add bacon and stir to combine.
 Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.

It definitely tastes better when it's just slightly heated, but not HOT. Simply pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to take the chill off and to make it all nice and glossy.
This recipe can easily be doubled. Keep in mind, though, that it'll probably take much longer to become thick and syrupy.
Although I've never tried it, I'm guessing this can also be made in a heavy dutch oven over an extremely low simmer on the stove top.

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