03 July, 2013

Bacon Sun-Dried Tomato Jam

If you know me you know I LOVE bacon....  It is a kind of love they write novels about...the depth of which, I am sure my Mister is jealous of.  This is a topic of discussion that comes up regularly on the Foodnatic Facebook page and on my personal Facebook page.  Some might assume this is something I am ashamed of...not so.  Bacon ON bacon is something I would eat...bacon makes everything taste better...even bacon itself.  Bacon wrapped bacon...think about it.

Before you get all hot and heavy into this process, have your jars ready for the jam if you are actually putting this into jars like I did.  I made it and gave all but one 4 ounce jar out to friends...they are my "guinea pig" friends.  Also, please be aware....this jam DEFINITELY has a shelf life.  Think about it...animal fat.  'Nuff said.  This jam will last only 4 weeks unopened in a sealed jar.  Once you open the jar of jam it HAS TO BE refrigerated, no exceptions.  When I called my Momma to ask her if there was any way to make it last longer on the shelf she said I could always pressure can it, which is how you traditionally can meat.  But then she raised a point which I quickly found to be true...  What made me think this jam was going to last beyond even ONE week...let alone 4?  True enough Momma...wise beyond your years!

This recipe makes five 4 ounce portions; so...not that much.  Really it is enough for one party worth of appetizers or 5 meals for four as burger toppings, etc.  Plan accordingly!  Let's begin with the bacon love, shall we?

Bacon Sun-Dried Tomato Jam
1 lb. bacon; cooked, cooled & chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion; soaked, then diced
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. honey, maple syrup or molasses
1 c. apple juice
1/2 c. organic brown sugar
2 T. grain mustard
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
4 T. reserved bacon grease

In a large skillet or in the oven (I always do my bacon in the oven now...a whole pound at a time every time I make it.  Why make 4 strips when you can have a WHOLE pound!?) cook your bacon until it is just starting to get crispy.  Remove from heat to a plate with paper towel on it and allow the bacon to cool to a temperature that you can easily handle it.  About 5 minutes.  Reserve at least 4 tablespoons of bacon grease in the frying pan or in a dish.

While the bacon is cooling use the bacon grease to saute your diced onion and garlic.  Saute on medium high heat for about 5 minutes.  Pour cooked garlic and onion into a large saucepan, making sure you scrape the pan out with a rubber spatula.  Chop up your bacon into a small crumble size, like what you would sprinkle on a salad.  Then just dump all the ingredients into the pan at once.  Bring it up to a low boil and stir.  Let it do that, stirring often, for about 25 minutes.

Put it in your jars and voila!  You're done.  Or...use immediately.

I'm sure you're asking yourself...what the HECK do you use bacon jam on??  Well...let me show you some ideas that tasted just fabulous...

Fried egg, Jam, Soy Cheese & Homemade Biscuit

Crostini with Aged Goat Cheddar, Jam & Basil

Roasted Red Pepper Feta with jam

Oven Roasted Chicken with Grain Mustard & Jam
(Excuse the quality of the photo above, I used my cell and forgot to use my SLR before my Mister ate it!)

These are just a few examples of what you can do with them.  More ideas for breakfast would be using this jam in or on a crepe or making this jam with blueberries instead of sun-dried tomato (reducing the apple juice down to a half cup rather than a whole cup) and making silver dollar pancake quesadillas that are filled with that jam and scrambled eggs.  

I have noticed I prefer dry, sharp cheeses paired with this jam more than any other variety.  Goat milk and sheep milk seem to work amazingly well with this jam.  But, a lot of people would likely enjoy this jam simply paired with a good quality cream cheese.  The sky is the limit with somethin' like this!

I hope you try this recipe out and come back and let me know the wonderful things you've done with it...and I hope you mess with the recipe combinations.  Cooking and baking can be SO much fun when there isn't pressure to do it "just like the other guy".  Make it your own!  Use what you already have in your kitchen.  Seriously!  I mean..this jam was ALMOST bacon & fig.  It would have tasted just as wonderful and would have been great with lamb dishes as well as all of these other things.  See how easy that was?!  Now go...COOK!

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