Anytime there is a new restaurant in our area, we are there. A couple of months ago, we were hopping around our favorite restaurant row, trying to find a quiet place for a leisurely cocktail and some appetizers. We found a great place and even greater appetizers—Bacon Jam Bruschetta. From the menu it is described as containing bacon jam, goats cheese, arugula, and smoked olive oil. My husband took one bite and I was challenged.
I really haven’t had time to play around with creating bacon jam until now. I based my recipe on Kevin Gillepsie’s (of Top Chef fame) Escargot Fricassee with Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts and Candied Bacon Jam.
I more than doubled the recipe, added less chicken stock and included some red wine and Sriracha. It was super sweet so I left out the honey from his original recipe as well. Here is what I came up with:
1 lb. thick cut bacon, cut into 1” pieces
1 c. yellow onions, julienned
1 large garlic clove, smashed.
¾ c. dark brown sugar
1 T. siracha
2 cups chicken stock
1 c. zinfandel
Salt and pepper to taste
Render bacon in a large, heavy cast iron skillet in until bacon is crispy, 20-25 minutes.
Cook julienned onions in the remaining bacon fat, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan until onions are golden, about 5-10 minutes.
Add brown sugar and siracha and stir to coat.
Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and simmer on stove top over medium/high heat. Reduce mixture until thick, 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Stir and scrape bottom of skillet after each addition of liquid. Stir often.
Add another cup of stock and reduce again until thick, another 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add red wine and reduce again, 10 minutes. Keep stirring.
Add bacon and cook 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper to taste.
Carefully, pour onion and bacon mixture into a blender and puree until fairly smooth.
Pour back in skillet and cook over low heat for 5 more minutes.
Scoop out jam into a bowl, leaving as much of the fat as you can in the skillet. Allow to cool. Skim off as much fat as possible.
To make Bacon Jam bruschetta, place a round of goat cheese on toasted baguette slices. Place warm jam on top. Garnish with a bit of basil.
Store jam in refrigerator and reheat to make more appetizers.
With my surplus of tomatoes from the farmers market, I think I will also make some tomato-basil salads with a dollop of this jam on top. I could eat a gallon of this stuff!