Saturday, September 1, 2012

Onion Bacon Garlic Jam

I've been reading lately about bacon jam and onion jam and garlic jam.   What caught my attention was the rave reviews - people really love those jams. 



Weird, huh.

This is basically how they work:
  • Slow cook [on the stove or in the oven] the onion and garlic until they are caramelized. 
  • De-glaze with wine and or vinegar.
  • Add some sweet and other flavors.
  • Cook it down until it's thick.
  • Add the bacon if that's your thing.  
One thing that sticks out to me right away is that this is not rocket science.  It's pretty easy.   And slow.

Slow is good.

I just had to try it.  And you know what?   It was good.   Way better than I thought.  
Way Better.

As in - this stuff is really good.   I love it.  Right off the spoon.

Feel like trying it?   Here's a recipe for a small batch.   It'll yield around a pint, depending on how much you cook it down.

Before you start, note that this is a slow jam.    Sloooow jam.

Slow.   Jam.

Don't rush it.   Put it on, then find something to do nearby for an hour or so while things cook.

 Then find something else to do.

I repeat - don't hurry it.   It's a zen thing.

Be one with the jam.

The slooow jam.

Onion Garlic Jam
  • 1 large onion [the sweeter the better], sliced
  • 2 full heads of garlic, peeled.
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
I cut the onion up in thin slices, then cut the slices down in length to a couple of inches.  I like that texture in the finished product.

For the garlic, separate the cloves and get your biggest widest knife.   Lay the knife on its side over the garlic and press down hard with the heel of your hand.  You'll hear the garlic crack and then the skin comes off easily.    Peel every clove.  Cut them roughly so the big ones are about the size of the small ones.  Don't mince them.   If you leave them bigger, you can use them as a gauge to see how done things are later. 

Put the butter, oil, onion, garlic and balsamic vinegar in a heavy pan on low.   I have a 1-10 range of settings on my stove and I put it at between 2 and 3.    Cook the onions and garlic until they are caramelized - an hour or more.

This means that it will take the entire hour to cook down the way you want it to. 

Don't be all - 'My stove is smarter than your stove and I cooked those babies down in 15 minutes'.   We don't want them cooked, we want them caramelized.


When they're caramelized, they'll be dark dark with very brown edges.  Don't let the balsamic fool you into thinking they're caramelized before they actually are.    They'll fall apart when they're caramelized.   The garlic pieces will be soft and fall apart easily when you put pressure on them with the spatula.

Don't rush it. 

It'll take at least an hour.   Clean out a cupboard or two while you wait.   File those papers that have been hanging out on the kitchen desk.  Give yourself a manicure.  Go weed a garden bed.

Once you've caramelized that stuff, then take a moment to break it up with the spatula into a consistency that you won't mind putting on toast points with goat cheese. 

Which brings up a question.  What are toast points?   I've never actually seen them.   At our house, toast is toast.  Sometimes it's French.   Are toast points just toast with sharp angles?   And no crusts?   Sounds like a lot of work.


To your lovely brown mix of caramelized goo, add:
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar.   I use my own.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 T real maple syrup.  I use my own.
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt  
You can turn the pan up to medium heat while you cook this down to the consistency you want.   When you drag a spatula along the bottom of the pan, you should see some space behind it before the juices gather round again.  Once you see that space, then it's done.   It will thicken up a lot when it's cold.

You can steam or water bath can this jam to keep it long term.   10 minutes for jellies.  

Want to turn this into Bacon Jam

While the onions are caramelizing, cut 4 slices of raw bacon short-ways into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces.  Fry it up until crisp.   Let it drain on a paper towel until it's cool.  Once it's cool, crumble it into bits. 

When the rest of the jam is done, add the bacon to it and stir it up well.

It is delicious.

Delicious, I tell you.

I liked it better the next day after it had completely cooled and the flavors had melded overnight.

Each batch of the bacon jam made me just shy of a pint.  I kept it in the fridge and didn't attempt to can it because of the bacon.    I don't recommend canning this stuff because of the meat.   Keep it in the fridge.

And actually, it's so good, it won't last more than a day or so anyway.

For more jam recipes as fabulous as these, check out my ebook on the sidebar.  A Simple Jar of Jam: 180+ recipes & variations for jam using low sugar pectin.  Every purchase goes a long way toward supporting the blog.   Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh! Stuffed in a chicken breast with some ricotta. That's how I'm picturing it. Wow. Lovely.

    I love your posting voice.


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