By 300 Sandwiches
I was pretty sad on Sunday, thinking hard about my father. All those Father’s Days at home, all the cards and neckties and fishing gear I’ve bought as gifts over the years. I wished I could have taken just one more boat ride with him. We would have been jamming to Pharrell’s “Happy” as we cruised along, I just know it. Ah, well, I betcha he’s doing that in heaven right now. Good for him.
What did make me happy this weekend was seeing all of the photos of my guy friends and girlfriend’s husbands that had become fathers. My Facebook feed was full of pictures of my thirtysomething friends and their young kids. I thought to myself, I have some pretty awesome friends. I must have clicked “like” on over 100 photos yesterday.
To keep my mind occupied this weekend, I gave bacon jam another shot. I made my first batch of this bacon-y goodness a few weeks ago, and it took 3 hours for me to finish! But I had used a full pound of bacon, which took a while to cook up on the stovetop. This time, I made a smaller batch—a half pound bacon, yielding enough for a quick spread on crackers, or a few egg sandwiches. Bacon jam is pretty rich stuff, so you don’t need to smear a lot on. It’s also not something I need to eat every day. It is bikini season, after all.
I am still experimenting with this because I think there are many flavors to be explored—maybe by adding dark chocolate or blackberries perhaps. But below, I give you my basic small batch recipe:
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brewed coffee
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. When done, remove and let cool on a paper towel lined plate. Drain all but a teaspoon of the bacon fat and drippings from pan. When cool, chop bacon into small pieces.
Cook garlic and shallot in same pan on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Next, add whiskey and maple syrup, and cook together for 3 minutes, stirring together until blended. Next crank up heat to medium high and add Worcestershire sauce and bring to boil. Then slowly add coffee, then brown sugar, reduce heat back to medium and let simmer. Next, toss back in your bacon, and stir. Add spices—chili powder, black pepper–and simmer over medium low heat for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture reaches a jammy consistency. You want it sticky and a bit loose, not paste-y. Remove from heat.
Toss entire mixture in food processor and give a few pulses to break up larger bacon pieces until just combined.
Remove from processor. Save in airtight jar or container for 2 weeks in refrigerator, or spread on crackers, bread or sandwiches immediately. Recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.