At the beginning of 2013, I decided I would go meat free. It was great for a while; my already adventurous test kitchen had to get even more creative to make my favorite recipes without meat. Do you want to know why I didn’t make it past February? BACON. I am a bacon LOVER, and if there’s a support group somewhere for people like me, I probably wouldn’t go. This jam is salty and sticky and absolutely AMAZING! It is great tossed on warm Brussels sprouts, or crusty bread; you can even put it in the middle of a grilled cheese with brie, yum! Imagine the possibilities. My recipe is adapted from Martha’s because I wanted just a little more heat and a little more sweet added to my jam. But you’re welcome to check hers out. I’m certain she’d love that.
Slow Cooker Bacon Jam
1 pound sliced bacon cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion diced
2 garlic gloves peeled and diced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 pure 100% maple syrup
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is almost done, usually about 25 minutes. Transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet; add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent (resist the urge to burn your onions and garlic, this will not make the jam tastes better). To the onions and garlic add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil. Scrap the browned bits from skillet bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the bacon and stir to combine and remove from the heat.
Transfer mixture to a 2-quart or larger slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, about 3 hours. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.