Bacon Fest 2010: Bacon Jam
For my birthday this year, I received a lovely package in the mail containing Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, a book completely devoted to the history, use, and love of bacon. Since then, I’ve been inspired–(downright possessed)–by bacon. Celeste and I have been exchanging bacon tchotchkes on our birthdays for awhile now, but this one really got me to thinking. So on Saturday, I invited a few friends over to eat, drink, and contemplate bacon. The conclusion: bacon is delicious.
I think bacon really gets people’s engines going because it beautifully marries the savory and sweet. You can whip it into a smoky, smoldering frenzy, or you can coax out its sweeter side. Mention bacon to any meat eater and, nine times out of ten, you’ll get declarations of rhapsodic devotion to it. It’s satisfying, versatile, and popping up all over the place lately–vodka, chocolate bars, donuts. Zingerman calls it the olive oil of America in his book, which I completely disagree with (that would be butter, ahem). But it truly, truly is an American culinary icon.
American–or “streaky”–bacon is typically a dry-cured cut of pork belly. British bacon is taken from the back of the pig. I went American all the way (it was 4th of July weekend). The first recipe I decided on was this Chipotle Bacon Jam I found at the Homesick Texan blog. (Thank you, Homesick Texan!) As soon as I came across this, I knew it would be my first course. Below is what happens when you take a pound of bacon and let it simmer in a spicy bath until it becomes a smoky, chorizo-like spread of velvet.
Homesick Texan’s Chipotle Bacon Jam
1 pound of bacon
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sliver of onion (I used more–about half an onion)
1–4 chipotles in adobo (I used 2)
2 tsps. adobo sauce from the chipotle can
2 tsps. ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground Mexican hot chocolate
1 c. brewed coffee
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
black pepper to taste
Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered, but not too crisp. Cut cooked bacon into two-inch-sized pieces. Pour out all but one tbsp. bacon fat.
On medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in the bacon fat for a few minutes. Add the cooked bacon, spices, vinegar, and coffee. Simmer on low for two hours, stirring occasionally. If it starts to get dry, add 1/4 cup of water at a time. I found that I needed to do this ever 20 minutes or so.
After two hours, place bacon jam into a food processor and pulse for two or three seconds until it has a nice, chunky consistency.
I served it with Fuji apple slices, crostini, smoked gouda, and caramelized onions.
From the Ultimate Bacon Resource:
Top 10 Bacon Quotes from Homer Simpson
- “(Lisa) “I’m going to become a vegetarian” (Homer) “Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?” “Yes” “Bacon?” “Yes Dad” Ham?” “Dad all those meats come from the same animal” “Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!””
- “Porkchops and bacon, my two favorite animals.”
- “When you’re in my house you shall do as I do and believe who I believe in. So Bart butter your bacon.”
- “Is it Bacon Day?”
- “Mmmm. Move over, eggs. Bacon just got a new best friend – fudge.”
- “Not again! First you took away my Philly Fudgesteak. And then my Bacon Balls. Then my Whatchamachicken. You monster!”
- Homer: I’ll have the smiley face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits and a bacon body.
Waitress: How about I just shove a pig down your throat?
(Homer looks excited)
Waitress: I was kidding.
Homer: Fine, but the bacon man lives in a bacon house!
Waitress: No he doesn’t!
- “[strained] You know that feeling you get when a thousand knives of fire are stabbing you in the heart? I’m having that right now…[normal] Ooh, bacon!”
- “Mmm … bacon”
- “Mmm … unexplained bacon”