I felt triumphant. I had gone from being a jam virgin to making three relatively successful jams that people seemed to enjoy eating and hadn’t lost their eyesight or anything. I had some empty jars left over and was wondering what to attempt next when I came home to check my mail, just to find that Martha Stewart had dedicated a large section of the December 2010 issue of “Everyday Food” magazine.
Page 100. Slow-cooker bacon jam. What.
Martha, why do you mock me? I will make that bacon jam. Show you.
Jam lesson #4:
But it’s not jam.
Ok, I’ve had enough of your attitude. Just because it doesn’t have pectin and mounds of sugar? Just because it’s slow-cooked instead of forced to the rolling angry boil?
Well, I am no expert. It might not technically be jam. But people love to eat it and people love to get it as a gift, neatly wrapped in a pretty piece of fabric.
This was by far the most popular jam I made in 2o10 … even though I suppose it’s technically more of a tapenade or dip. Here goes: render a massive amount of bacon – the recipe says 1 1/2 lbs but I doubled it to three and may have (ahem) used a little extra – in a big pot. When it starts to smell like victory, add chopped onions, garlic, chives, and assorted things you like to use. I added some extra herbs. Then add a cup of strong coffee, maple syrup, cider vinegar and some brown sugar. Put it all in your slow cooker, on high, with the lid off. Your kitchen will smell amazing.
After the mixture starts to thicken and get bubbly and a little darker, it’s ready. I learned after two batches of this awesomeness that although bacon fat is … well, kind of the idea, it is a little bit greasy for some. If you’re giving it as a gift, skim off some of the fat, if for nothing else then because it doesn’t look pretty through the glass jar.
This stuff is delicious on any sandwich. I also tried some with hot sauce and cream cheese as a tasty dip for tortilla chips. It is amazing.