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Bacon jam. Because of left-over bacon, from our Christmas bacon-bird, which led me on a path that has seen bread pudding and finally has ended up here – as Bacon Jam.

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Spot the chilli flakes? They make this jam hot!

Most of the versions I read about had maple syrup in the mix so mine progressed to Maple Bacon Jam.

And finally, because I’ve been looking for ways to cook with Malta, it turned to Malta-Maple Bacon Jam.

This jam is a cinch to make, and emerges from the cooking pot dark and glistening with colour and flavour.

The flavour is just what you’d want out of a condiment, and from bacon. It adds, it gives back, pays forward, makes the ‘dish’. It is sweet and salty, spicy from the red chilli flakes and mixed peppercorns I added, and a rich, caramel depth that’s smoky and spicy, with hints of molasses. Sigh.

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2013 is beginning on a good note.

2012 is ending on an awesome one!

Malta – Maple Bacon Jam, loosely adapted from ‘the internet’

Ingredients
1 tablespoon (brown) butter
1 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (I used back bacon)
2 medium yellow/white onions, diced small (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and sliced
1 cup malta (Maltina, Amstel, Goya Malt)
3/4 cup brewed coffee (made up with 2 heaped teaspoons of instant coffee)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 scant cup dark-brown sugar
2 teaspoons red chilli flakes
1/2 – 1 teaspoons coarsely crushed mixed peppercorns
Method

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet (reserve for another use);

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In my case I already had a pound of cooked bacon, from my roasted Turkey which I draped with bacon. I had no bacon grease and so used a tablespoon of brown butter instead.

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Bacon Bird – Bacon swaddled Turkey

Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

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Add malta, coffee, vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar, chilli flakes and peppercorns and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.

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Malta, the destination for rich, caramel flavour

Add bacon and stir to combine.

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Cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy. Though most versions taken hours in the slow cooker, and the stove top, mine had reduced to sticky, syruppy heaven in under an hour. It might have been because my bacon was well and truly cooked prior to the jamming. Who knows.

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Getting there……cooking away

Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.

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The End – Bacon Jam!

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I’m thinking pancakes. Crepes. French toast even. And Vinaigrettes. Imagine this in some liquid form. Heaven!

I’m dreaming savoury, sticky buns.

And dollops added to stews and sauces, for that indescribable quality.

Stirred into softened unsalted butter, to make a compound one.

This is bacon at its finest. It has a tang, a sweetness and strangely a gamey flavour.

This jam is sticky, and smoky. I imagine it would be ‘killer’ in an avocado sandwich.

Bacon jam. What a way to slow-down, to get into my year-end groove.

Along with Peppernoten, cousins to Kruidnotenmini spiced ginger cookies and building a gingerbread house for New Year’s day.

This will appear at the New Year’s Day family brunch. I can wait. Can you?

Update

I’ve stirred some bacon jam into gravy, served with lamb and potatoes – delicious

A dollop of this is on a stuffed mozzarella and turkey breast crepe made a delicious breast!

More updates to come.

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