I've adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker Bacon Jam. If you don't trust me, go ahead and make her recipe. I'm sure it's outstanding.
- 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium sweet onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed white sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup brewed coffee
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the bacon in a cool Dutch oven and cook it over medium heat. (Starting the bacon in a cool pan ensures that you will render as much fat as possible from the bacon.) When the bacon is cooked and beginning to crisp drain the fat from the pan, reserving it for some other amazing use. I leave the bacon in the pan, Martha removes it. I figure if you're stewing the final mixture for a few hours leaving the bacon out at this point doesn't do much.
- Add the onions and the garlic to the pan, cooking on medium low, stirring frequently until the onions are softened and translucent.
- Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Cook, covered, on very low heat or in a very low oven, stirring every half hour.
- The jam is done when it coats the back of a wooden spoon, maybe even a little thicker. You be the judge. Just don't let it scorch.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the jam. I found that using an immersion blender left the jam with some satisfying bits of bacon and prevented it from looking like canned cat food. Check and adjust the seasoning.
There are a few ingredients I would love to add, but I'm famous for tinkering with perfectly good recipes, so you might want to ignore these suggestions.
First, I love the flavor the coffee adds, but I think it might be worth substituting a stout beer for all or some of the coffee. Might I suggest a Founders' Breakfast Stout? Also, I think the bite of some mustard seed, dry mustard, or prepared whole grain mustard would not be amiss. I'd add that along with plenty of black pepper. Also, I think adding bits of dried cherries or cranberries would make this spread more attractive. I'd toss those in with the sugar and allow them to stew with the whole mess so they are tender and luscious. *drool*
Serve this with pretzels or crackers, alongside a terrific, sharp, wet, cheddar cheese and some fruit. Use it as a glaze on meat, and for heavens sake, make sure to try it with green beans. Or cooked carrots. Or Brussels sprouts. Or smear it all over baked brie en croute. Throw a dollop of it into a baked sweet potato. Spread it on a grilled cheese sandwich. Lawd have mercy. *crosses self*