bacon jam (finally)

It's a good thing that I don't work for an accounting company anymore... because my accounting of the 52 in 52 challenge for 2012... was a bit terrible.

The whole point of the challenge was to try and cook new things, try some new techniques, and break out of habits. When I find something that I love, I end up making it a million times over. In grad school, I used to make "spaghetti risotto" ... which is to say that you essentially cook the spaghetti in chicken broth or beef broth. Then, I'd add a dash of soy sauce, some graded Parmesan  and whatever frozen veggies I had in my freezer. It was super quick to make ... and hit my sweet spot. And by sweet spot, I clearly mean my salty spot.

I can safely say that thanks to the 52 in 52 challenge, I have gotten out of my rut of spaghetti risotto. I ended up making 61 new things in 2012 and thus far in 2013 I'm at 27, largely in part due to the Downton Abbey Dinners.

Bacon Jam was something that I actually made last Spring before I took a weekend trip to NYC. I had stumbled upon the idea of Bacon Jam after eating a burrito from the Staff Meal food truck one day at work. I had never heard of it, but now I feel like I see it much more frequently. While I'm not opposed to jam in principle, I much prefer the "butters" as spreads - think peanut butter and regular butter.

Bacon jam was a pretty big hit with the people I shared it with. I gave one jar to my friend Ria who was preggers at the time. It was really fitting that she get one of the jars considering bacon was one of her pregnancy cravings. Plus, it was amazing to see her open the jar in the middle of Central Park and just stick her finger in it right there.

Added bonus? I had to call ahead to my meat and cheese place (Monica's Mercato) to confirm that they would have three pounds of bacon available. They were really quite curious about what I was doing with all this bacon.
While I was able to "seal" the jars of the jam by turning them upside down like I did for the tomato jam, I'm not quite sure that bacon jam should be kept outside the fridge. So just be safe and put it in there. Most of the blogs I read indicated that bacon jam has about a 3 week fridge-life ... but it won't last that long. My sister started to put it in her mac & cheese ... and she didn't regret that decision at all.

Enjoy.

(Step 1) In a large pot, cook bacon until just starting to brown and crisp at edges. You can either cook the bacon as whole pieces or diced up into about 1 inch pieces. I think the pieces is the easiest. You'll need to probably do the diced bacon in 2-3 batches. In between batches, drain the grease into a cup/bowl.

(Step 2) Remove cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate to cool and drain off grease. Pat with additional paper towels.

(Step 3) After all the bacon has been cooked, pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from pot. Turn heat down to medium low. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. 
(Step 4) Add vinegar, brown sugar, and coffee. Bring to a boil. Add cooked chopped bacon.

(Step 5) Turn down heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring every few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and what is left is syrupy. It'd be easy to leave the pot unattended but don't. It isn't worth it because (1) its dangerous and (2) there is a lot of sugar in the pot and sugar burns easily. You can see via these timestamps how quickly it comes together towards the end.
(Step 6) When you feel like the consistency is about right, transfer the cooked bacon jam to a food processor.
(Step 7) Pulse until you get the consistency of chunky jam. This is completely up to you but the smaller the chunks the easier it will be to spread on crackers and sandwiches.

(Step 8) Transfer into jars or other storage containers. This recipe will yield one jar about this size. I tripled the recipe ... because that's something that I would do.
Enjoy.

Adapted from this recipe

Shopping List
1 pounds of bacon
1 medium onions
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of strongly brewed coffee
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 T of molasses

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