This jam is great on sandwiches. (Nealey Dozier)
As a Southerner, I know I’m supposed to pledge a certain allegiance to bacon, but I have to admit the “bacon-makes-everything-better” trend had me rolling my eyes after the first month or so. (And that was five years ago!) Then I made this sweet and savory bacon jam, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t want to slather it on everything from breakfast sandwiches to cupcakes. Yep, I turned into “that” girl.
If you haven’t already discovered bacon jam for yourself, here’s your chance. Every single bite is full of rich, savory, oh-so-sweet goodness. There are a lot of variations floating around the Internet, including ones using coffee, brown sugar, garlic, bourbon and peppers. My recipe actually gets its inspiration from a recipe for glazed bacon, with its addictive combination of sugar, tangy Dijon and Worcestershire sauce.
I used those same ingredients here, adding balsamic vinegar, onions and shallots to the mix. My jam came together fairly quickly and is relatively hands off.
There are a million ways to serve bacon jam, and half the fun is seeing how crazy you can get. My personal fave (besides eating it straight from a spoon) is to build the ultimate breakfast sandwich. Try it — toasted challah, cheddar, oven-roasted tomatoes, field greens, a fried egg and a heap of bacon jam — and don’t tell me it isn’t the best breakfast sandwich you’ve ever had.
Seriously though, the possibilities are endless. Spread it in between a grilled cheese, slap it on a burger, or drip it over hot biscuits. And, hey, don’t be afraid to ice it on a cupcake. Just sayin.’
Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam
1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 small sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large shallot (2 cloves), peeled and very thinly sliced
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Set a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Keep all the bacon fat in the pan; do not discard (see note).
Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the onions and shallots, and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup, vinegar, Dijon and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in ½ cup of water and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally if necessary. Cook until the jam has a glossy appearance and syrup-like consistency, about 1 hour.
Allow the mixture to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender and pulse a few times to puree the larger pieces, stopping every pulse or two to stir and check the consistency — it should be thick and chunky, not a paste.
Transfer to an airtight container. Bacon jam can be refrigerated for up to one month. Serve at room temperature. Makes 1 ½ to 2 cups (can be doubled or tripled) or 30 servings.
Note: Some recipes call for discarding some of the bacon fat before adding the onions. I kept all of the fat, but it is personal preference. Hey, if you are going to make bacon jam, you might as well go all in!
Per serving (per 1 tablespoon): 49 calories; 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 55 percent calories from fat); 4 g carbohydrates; 4 mg cholesterol; 93 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber.
Nealey Dozier is a writer for TheKitchn.com. firstname.lastname@example.org.