Bacon Jam

Bacon JamWhen I first heard the term “Bacon Jam” I dismissed it as one of those gross calorie-explosions you see where a million different high-calorie foods are shoe-horned into a dish and presented like the most depraved type of foodporn. But the more I heard of it, the more I realised that the ingredients actually make sense. Salty, smoked bacon with smoky sweetness from maple syrup and brown sugar, tangy vinegar and more smoke from paprika. I’m still a bit baffled by the addition of coffee but it works, though if you’re serving this to fussy eaters, I wouldn’t mention it. No one is allergic to coffee and caffeine amounts are negligible but some might be put off at the idea of some weird bacon coffee spread.

I first tried it for myself in Angelina’s in Dublin a few months ago as part of a shared starter and I knew I had to give it a go at home. It was served with soft, creamy, buffalo burrata cheese and some toasted baguette and the whole thing was just delicious – as was the homemade version! What I really like about it is that once the jam is made, it can be left in the fridge for ages and then you’re really just an assembly-job away from an epic starter or platter of nibbles. You’re friends will be totally blindsided and forever hoping when they visit in the future “…God, I hope he has made that crazy coffee bacon jam thing!”

Finqal note: when cooled, blitz or pulse this for your desired texture. I didn’t bother as I like it chunky.

Bacon Jam

Ingredients

  • 200ml strongly brewed coffee
  • 125ml cidre vinegar
  • 70ml maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 700g smoked streaky bacon chopped finely

Instructions

  1. In a measuring jug, mix together the coffee, vinegar, maple syrup, sugar and paprika.
  2. Pile the chopped bacon into a large frying pan and stir-fry until it starts to take on golden-brown colour. The time this takes will depend on weather you're using bacon with added water.
  3. Then add the chopped onion and garlic and stir-fry for another 5 minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the coffee mixture and stir as you bring it to the boil, loosening and brown bits that have formed at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Allow to boil for 5 minutes before you turn the heat down to low and let it simmer uncovered for about an hour and a half or until thick and jammy.
  6. In the meantime, slice up a baguette, brush both sides of each slice with olive oil, lay on a baking sheet and roast at 180 degrees celsius for 10 minutes.
  7. Once the jam is thick, you can pulse it in a food processor if you would like it a little smoother.
  8. If not, just allow it to cool.
  9. As it cools, just push all the bacon to one side of the pan. This will cause most of the fat to flow to the other side allowing you to transfer the bacon to a sterilised mason jar where it will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.
  10. To serve, just pile the toasted baguette slices onto a plate or platter, add a bowl of the cooled jam, a ball of burrata cheese and various pickles and allow everyone to dig in.
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