“Bacon jam??” my friend said incredulously. “What are you going to do, spread it on scones or something?” She said this as we were tucking into a chocolate pizza at Max Brenners; both of us missed the irony of her comment at the time – you can have chocolate pizza but not bacon jam? My fixation on making bacon jam had come from brunching with the charming Night Owl one long weekend a couple of months ago at Reuben Hills in Surry Hills, whereupon she encountered a breakfast burger lathered with the stuff. One taste and she has become enamored with it ever since; declaring that she was going to attempt to create an epic boozy concoction involving bacon jam, salted caramel, chocolate and a myriad of other ingredients. So I did some research into what was required to make bacon jam, and while it probably isn’t suitable for a cocktail due to it having caramelised onions in it (it’s based off an onion jam recipe) it goes wonderfully with food items, with its subtle spiciness making it a tasty accompaniment to eggs, sausages, roast pork and it’s simply out of this world in a grilled cheese toastie. The recipe is adapted from Kim at Ravings of a Lunatic; my changes mostly involve metric conversions and substitution with ingredients available in Sydney (Australia). This makes about one cup of bacon jammy goodness. You will need:
- 500g of middle bacon rashers, rind removed and chopped;
- 4 large eschallots;
- 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped;
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped;
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder;
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika;
- 1/3 cup of bourbon or whiskey;
- Two tablespoons maple syrup;
- One teaspoon balsamic vinegar;
- Two tablespoons brown sugar.
Cook the bacon spread out over two frying pans to allow room for it to crisp up properly. Cook it over medium heat until most of the fat has cooked off. It will pop and sizzle very energetically! Shred your eschallots and onion in the food processor or cut by hand. I wanted mine super-fine so I put them in the processor until minced. Remove the bacon from the pan to paper towels to drain the excess fat. Try not to look too much at the paper towel afterwards. Into one pan add the minced eschallots and onion, stirring to caramelise. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Please ensure you don’t add the garlic at the same time as the eschallots and onion, as burnt garlic tastes pretty terrible! Add the chilli powder and smoked paprika, stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and add the bourbon carefully and the maple syrup. I used a Jim Beam maple-infused bourbon I found a while ago and its been wonderful in my winter cooking – particularly in bread and butter puddings! Bring to a boil, stir and scrape until any bits come loose. Continue boiling for about 2-3 minutes. Add the vinegar and brown sugar, continue to boil for 3 minutes. It should reduce into a thick, sticky syrup. Return the bacon to the pan, reduce the heat to low, stir it all together and simmer for about ten minutes until it becomes thick and jammy.
Add more chilli powder, paprika or syrup to taste should you feel like it.
You can either have it like this, but I wanted it a little less chunky so I cooled it for about 10-15 minutes before scraping it into my food processor and pulsing it on short bursts to get a more uneven, rustic texture to the jam.
Transfer to jars and store in the fridge. Microwave spoonfuls when you wish to use it!