Perhaps the most versatile condiment out there is one that does not come to mind at first – bacon jam. This pork-based relish can be made into a variety of flavors and used in a plethora of recipes.
What Is It?
Bacon jam is a relish that involves slow cooking bacon alongside onions, vinegar, brown sugar and spices, before mixing in a food processor.
It is not as intensive as many other jams are perceived to be, and can be whipped up quickly at home.
It’s a recipe that bears resemblance to Verhackert, an Austrian dish that lacks the sweeteners of bacon jam. Verhackert is a spread of minced bacon, combined with garlic and salt, wherein the preparation of bacon takes place over two months. This includes freezing the meat two to three times.
Once the meat is ready, it is minced with the other ingredients and pressed into a terrine.
How Is It Made?
To start, chop your bacon of choice up and fry it until it’s crispy. Add to the pan finely chopped onions and shallots so it all can caramelize in about 15 minutes.
Add to the skillet apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic, and cook until the liquid has reduced and thickened. The whole process should take only a half hour.
Is There More Than One Flavor?
The base mixture above is just the start. You can add many other things to it to produce varieties of bacon jam with unique flavor profiles.
Maple syrup and bacon often go together, so adding that or agave nectar to the pan will give your jam a sweet taste.
If you like spice, any variety of hot pepper will do, with the most common being habanero or jalapenos.
The apple cider vinegar can be substituted with balsamic or white vinegar to create different levels of tang.
So, What Do You Do With It?
The question here should really be what do you not add it to, as bacon jam can be paired with so many things.
At its simplest, it can be used to top toast or bagels; it can even be added on top of a stack of pancakes or French toast for a sweet and savory experience.
Throw it into classic sandwiches like grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly for a refreshing spin on an old favorite.
Bacon jam layers on flavors when combined with other meats. Mix it into ground meats that will be used for patties or meatballs, or add it to sauce being made for marinating chicken.
How Should You Store It?
Unlike other jams, bacon jam cannot and should not be canned. It can be refrigerated and used within two weeks, brought up to room temperature before serving.
If you want to freeze it for longer life, store the jam in straight-shouldered mason jars and leave one inch of headspace. It should stay for up to 6 months in your freezer. Simply place it on the counter and let it thaw to use it.
Bacon jam on toast – Wikimedia creative commons