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.
Sweet & Savory Bacon Jam
Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups (can be doubled or tripled)
thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
small sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
large shallot, peeled and very thinly sliced
pure maple syrup
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 Recipe Notes).
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 1/2 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 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.
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!
(Images: Nealey Dozier)