I have never been big on following the trends, I've never cared too much to go buy the latest clothes (although I don't think I'm unfashionable, guess that's easy to say since I'm the one judging myself) and truth is once I find something I love (be it clothing, furniture, etc.) I could care less if it's 'trendy' it's something I will hang on to as long as I can. So when bacon hit the radar as 'trendy' I was a little sad to say the least, I've been a bacon fan as far back as I can remember.
As a small child my great grandmother (I've been a lucky girl who has known great grandparents and grandparents on both sides of the family) would take me to the grocery store with her and spoil me rotten...she let me pick out whatever my heart desired and at a very young age she taught me how to make bacon (in the microwave, because who trusts a 5 year old with the stove!). My poor mother was probably a bit horror stricken, she's not a huge bacon fan and really was a health-nut most of my childhood. Coming to my great-grandmothers to find her 5 year old happily nuking bacon was likely a bit of a shock. I always adored my great grandparents, bacon or not and have very fond memories of summers at their home, including my great-grandfather's huge veggie garden which continues to inspire me today.
I speak of this not to brag about the fabulous family I grew up with or the fact that I was lucky enough to know great grandparents but to prove my bacon pedigree. I have long been a fan and so when it became a trend, when it hit all the 'food' shows I was a bit sad. I suddenly looked like everyone else who loves bacon, as if I jumped on the band wagon, I'm here to say I was an early adopter! For those of you who have read my blog before you'll see that bacon is ubiquitous in my cooking, not so much so that I'll be suffering a major heart attack anytime soon but it's definitely present and has been since before bacon became the 'it' food.
Now that I'm done trying to prove myself, the purpose of my rant is really to share with you something delicious, slightly unexpected and a condiment that stands on it's own, bacon jam! Yes, I know it's been done, especially since the 'trend' began but this is my version, a little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet and a good solid dose of smokiness.
1 lb Thick Cut Smoked Bacon
1 Large Sweet Onion, Cut into 1/4 inch rounds
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Adobe Chipotle Chile + 1 Tsp Chile Sauce from the Can
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Shaved Dark Chocolate (at least 75% cocoa) or 2 Tbsp Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Strong Brewed Coffee (I prefer to use Pecan Flavored Coffee)
1. In a large dutch oven cook bacon over medium high heat until crispy on the edges but tender in the center. Remove from pot, set on paper towels to drain excess grease. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of rendered fat from pan. Chop bacon into half-inch pieces.
2. Decrease heat to medium-low and add onion and brown sugar. Cook until onions are well caramelized, stirring frequently for approximately 20 minutes.
3. Add garlic and remaining spices (including chiles and adobo sauce), saute for 5 minutes.
4. Add liquids and bacon back to pan, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Let boil 3 minutes.
5. Decrease heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stir every 15-20 minutes.
6. If mixture become too dry add water by the tbsp to keep mixture from burning and sticking. Final texture should be moist and sticky, like a jam.
I should have far more interesting photos than the jar full of jam but you see it's been consumed so fast I really forgot....you should feel lucky I snagged these pictures : ) This is delicious in so many ways, on an egg sandwich, a BLT (instead of the bacon), just on a piece of bread as an appetizer...possibilities are endless!
Slight disclosure here, while I've been planning to share this post for a while it also coincided with a Foodbuzz program/contest called Baconalia.
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