Saturday, 30 August 2014

Happy International Bacon Day!

I have a little confession to make: this is the first time I've bought bacon! Growing up, we only ever ate bacon on Christmas morning, so it was a once-a-year treat. As funny as this recipe sounds (bacon JAM?!?), it is the same: a delicious, sweet-and-savoury treat! Bonus: the man in your life will RAVE about it. I've made it in honor of International Bacon Day, unofficially celebrated the Saturday before every Labor Day.

I found this recipe on Martha Stewart and adapted it ever so slightly (modified a few ingredients and cut out the need for a food processor - because who wants to clean up bacon bits from their food processor? Not me, anyway).

The recipe is perfect as a snack on top of baguette, or pair it with a sharp or soft cheese (like Brie) and serve as a decadent appetizer. I'm planning on making this ahead if time and serving it at our annual Christmas Eve party!

Bacon Jam | Whiskcraft Blog
This sweet-and-savory jam can be stored for a few weeks, refrigerated in an air-tight container... if it lasts that long!

Jack Daniel's Bacon Jam 

1 package (about 500g) bacon
2 cups finely chopped shallots 
1 large clove fresh garlic (use locally-grown or organic garlic for best results)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's whiskey
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used Quebec Medium maple syrup)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar

  1. Cut bacon crosswise into approximately 1-inch strips. Don't worry too much about them being bite-sized, we'll cut them again later. 
  2. Spread bacon in a single layer in your non-stick pan. Cook over medium heat until browned, but not very crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Clean pan and return to heat, repeating this step until all bacon is browned and drained. Before cleaning the pan from the last batch, reserve 1 tbsp fat in the pan.Bacon Jam | WhiskCraft Blog
  3. As in the photo above, shallots should be very finely chopped. Add them to the pan with 1 tbsp fat and the garlic. Cook over medium heat until translucent. Add spices (chili powder, ginger, mustard), stir and continue cooking.
  4. While ingredients are cooking, take reserved bacon and mince it finely into bite-sized pieces. Since the bacon is cooked, it will be much easier to cut finely: Bacon Jam | WhiskCraft Blog
  5. Increase heat to high, add Jack Daniel's and maple syrup. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat. Add apple cider vinegar and brown sugar, stirring to incorporate. 
  6. With heat on low, add reserved finely-chopped bacon and simmer until reduced to a jam-like consistency. For me, this happened almost immediately.
Maple, whiskey and apple flavors combine deliciously in this recipe!
Transfer jam into an airtight container (I used my favorite - the Mason jar - photo above) and refrigerate for at least an hour. Martha notes that it can be stored for up to 4 weeks, mine lasted a mere 2 days!

For a quick appetizer, spread over prepared baguette crisps:
Bacon Jam | WhiskCraft BlogBacon Jam | WhiskCraft Blog

Enjoy with your family this long weekend!!

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