A pot of bacon jam is an ideal cold-weather project; it will infuse your house with the sweet smell of bacon and maple syrup. Slather the sticky-salty treat inside a mess of grilled cheese sandwiches.
1 lb (454 g) good-quality bacon
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup (125 ml) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) brewed coffee or apple cider
1/4 cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup
1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp (15 ml) grainy mustard
Grated cheese of your choice
Butter or mayo for slathering
Open package(s) of bacon and cut the whole stack crosswise about 1/2-inch thick. Cook it in a medium pot set over medium-high heat until most of the fat has cooked off and it’s almost crisp (but not rubbery). Carefully pour off most of the drippings. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a bowl.
Add the onion to the drippings left in the pot and cook for 5–7 minutes, until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Return the bacon to the pan and add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, vinegar and mustard.
Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and a spoon leaves a trail through the bottom of the pot—it should have the consistency of runny jam. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold, storing leftovers in the fridge for up to a month.
In grilled cheese: Assemble your grated cheese and slices of bread. Slather one side of each bread slice with butter or mayo. Stack shredded cheese on one slice and bacon jam on the other. Place slices together so cheese and bacon jam meet, let melt and toast-up in a hot skillet, mayo or butter-side down.
Makes about 2 cups.
Per 2 Tbsp. serving of jam:
195 calories, 10.5 g fat (3.9 g saturated fat, 5.3 g monounsaturated fat, 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 11.1 g carbohydrate, 31 mg cholesterol, 10.6 g protein, 0.1 g fibre.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Feb/Mar 2015.