Lately I’ve been leaning towards simple but satisfying weekend dinners. I find Saturdays can be exhausting, whether one is grocery shopping, making Home Depot and dry cleaning runs or staying home to spend the day doing yard work. I always seem to bite off more than I can chew and pay dearly for it hours later with sore muscles or Sunday morning when the alarm goes off at 6:15 to get ready for 7:30 mass. No, weekends aren’t always the restful breaks we want them to be. In order to make life easier and keep my family happy, I often prepare some sort of grilled sandwich or panino, served with a salad and some fruit, for dinner at the end of the week. This stuff makes a sandwich absolutely sing. The jam may be cooked in a crock pot or stove top. I feel the crock pot just makes the entire process foolproof plus one doesn’t need to check on it every half hour to make certain it’s not too dry or, worse yet, burning. But it’s up to you as either way yields a gorgeous product. On Thursday I prepared this bacon jam and we enjoyed it over the weekend. Saturday night I roasted brussel sprouts and tossed them mid-roast with a few spoonfuls of the jam. I’m sorry to say they were so good they were eaten before I could snap a photo. You’ll just have to take my word they were fantastic! I made grilled cheese sandwiches with Monterey jack cheese on a rich, dark whole-grain bread and spread both slices of bread liberally with a swath of bacon jam. They were delicious served with the brussel sprouts and cold apple slices.
For the Super Bowl game I kept my people entertained by giving them bacon jam palmiers made from store-bought puff pastry. They were gone before you could say, “lickety-split”. I spread the jam evenly over each sheet of puff pastry, rolled up the sides, sliced them with dental floss and baked them off. What a luxury! Even easier is to only roll one side and you’ll have pinwheels instead of palmiers.
Monday morning as my son headed off to work I surprised him with the same grain bread toasted, bacon jam on both pieces of bread and a fried, organic egg nestled in the middle. That’s some kind of treat, huh? I hope you try this recipe. I’m pretty sure you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy it…including directly off the spoon!
Bacon Jam with Spiced Rum
- 1 1/2 pounds thick sliced bacon, if the package is a few ounces less that’s fine
- 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup spiced rum, I use Captain Morgan
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, I use dark amber
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 packed cup brown sugar
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1/8 teaspoon or 1 large pinch of red pepper flakes
- In a large skillet cook bacon over medium high heat until the bacon is crisp but not burned. Transfer the bacon to drain on paper towels and drain the pan of all but 3-4 tablespoons of bacon grease.
- Lower the heat to medium and return the pan to the heat. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onion begins to soften and turn clear.
- To the pan add all of the remaining ingredients except the red pepper flakes and stir until all the ingredients are well mixed and any browned bits of bacon are loosened and combined.
- Crumble the bacon by hand directly into the onion mixture and stir well.
- If cooking in a crock pot, transfer the mixture to your slow cooker. Set the temperature to high and allow to simmer uncovered for 3 1/2-4 hours. The liquid should be somewhat syrupy.
- If cooking stove-top drop the heat to low and allow to simmer for 2 hours uncovered. Check the pan every 30 minutes and stir. If the mixture is sticking to the bottom of the pan lower the heat a bit and add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- From the crock pot or the pan transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender or use an immersion blender and pulse until the jam still has texture and a few small chunks. Try not to over-blend.
- Allow to cool 30 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and stir well to combine.
- Spoon into clean jam jars and cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.
- The jam will keep 2-3 weeks stored in the refrigerator.