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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Manly Recipes: Bacon Jam

by Kyle:

You may remember that last month MMM put out a reader survey, which hopefully you all participated in because MMM is awesome, right? After looking over some of the responses, there was one, seriously, only one, that responded that they'd like to see more "manly recipes." So, my lone friend, I am here for you.

I love to cook. I'm not saying that I could win a season of MasterChef, but I enjoy cooking when things don't catch on fire. I also, like every good and worthy man, love bacon. A few years back a friend gave me 10 pounds, TEN POUNDS, of bacon as a Christmas gift (bless him). With more bacon than I knew what to do with, I scoured the internet (the first page of a Google search) for interesting ways to use the bacon. That's when I came across Bacon Jam.

If you haven't had Bacon Jam then you haven't heard Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played, that is, if Shakespeare was bacon. To start you on your journey to tastebud exaltation, here's what you'll need:
  • 2 lbs. bacon, cut into one inch pieces prior to cooking
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup. Now I'm not talking about Mrs. Butterworth or Aunt Jemima here. You need pure maple syrup, only the good stuff.
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
If you have a dutch oven, it's perfect for cooking Bacon Jam, if not you'll need a large pot and a frying pan.

Start by browning your bacon. Be sure not to completely crispify it, as you want it to continue to cook with all the other ingredients. Once done transfer your bacon to a paper towel and drain off the bacon grease, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Keep the rest of the bacon grease, you'll use it later.

In the leftover bacon grease in your pan, cook your diced onions and smashed garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. When the onions are nice and soft, add in the vinegar, brown sugar, and maple syrup, bringing to a boil, scraping off any bits on the bottom of your pan. (If you're not using a dutch oven, you'll want to transfer everything to larger pot for simmering.) Add in as much of the remaining bacon grease as you'd like. You can go all-in, or just add in another few spoonfuls, but remember this isn't a diet recipe, and bacon grease is all flavor, all the time.

Reduce your heat and let your Bacon Jam simmer uncovered for about an hour or until your jam has a syrupy consistency, stir occasionally.

Once it has finished cooking, let it cool off for about 30 minutes. Then transfer the mix to a food processor and pulse that sucker enough to break up any large bits and turns it into a thick chunky mixture. What you are left with is the almighty Bacon Jam.

The best part about Bacon Jam is that there is no wrong way to eat it. You can just dive in with a spoon while sitting on your couch with no pants on, make a killer breakfast egg sandwich in the morning, or spread it on your hamburger buns for a butt-kicking burger.

Here's my favorite way to serve. One baguette and the best brie you can find. Spread the brie on a slice of baguette and top with a dollop of Bacon Jam. Heaven.
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Kyle works in Democratic politics, yet somehow his bishop still lets him participate in church activities. He hails from Washington DC, but is embarking on a year of living in Salt Lake City and being a stay-at-home dad, while his amazing wife brings home the bacon. Actual bacon. No, seriously, she works across the street from a grocery store. It's delicious. Kyle's Mormon street cred comes from the fact that he is the youngest of seven children and is only five years older than his niece. Twitter: @KJinSLC.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gif Image credit: Kyle (used with permission).

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