OK – now really – does it get better than this? The slow cooker AND bacon AND jam. All 3 words swoon inducing on their own, but put them all in the same recipe and the outcome could be lethal.
When I saw the Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam recipe in the December ’09 Everyday Food Magazine’s “mmmmmm … bacon” section, it got an instant flag. I thought a jar of this would be great tucked into my Christmas goodie baskets.
Doing this in the slow cooker had to make it simple, right? Well, almost simple. There is a lot of prep to be done before it hits the slow cooker. That’s the part that’s annoying. Once it goes into the slow cooker the house fills with the most amazing smells of bacon and coffee and maple syrup … just wonderful.
And then it goes into a food processor after cooking. There is a LOT of clean-up after this one! You get about 3 cups from one batch. So, while delicious, it causes a lot of mumbling and cursing while this process and clean-up is going on.
This particular slow-cooker recipe calls for the cover to be off during cooking. I am BARELY comfortable with the slow-cooker being on while I am not home PERIOD, now you want me to go out and leave the cover off too! What will I have to endure for a recipe next? Juggling knives?
Anyway, off we go –
- 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1″ pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 C cider vinegar
- 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 C pure maple syrup
- 3/4 C brewed coffee
NOTES: I don’t drink coffee and don’t have coffee in my house. I bought a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and used that. I may switch next time to muscavado sugar in place of the dark brown sugar. It has a deeper, more molasses flavor. I used Oscar Mayer center cut bacon.
In a large skillet, cook bacon over a medium high flame, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.
NOTE: DO NOT eat all the bacon while it is sitting there. It is tempting to grab it by the handful, but don’t.
Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.
NOTE: Once all of these ingredients hit the pan, you are in for a real treat. The smells are just fantastic. Those smells still bring me back to being a little kid down in Breezy Point and waking up to the smells of coffee and bacon wafting up the stairs from the kitchen.
Add the cooked bacon and stir to combine.
Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high uncovered, until liquid is syrupy – about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool. refrigerate in airtight containers.
NOTE: Great on toast. Makes an amazing BLT! I am trying to think of other ways to use it – aside from just spooning it right out of the jar. I thought perhaps on top of sautéed chicken. I am open to suggestions! It is a little sweet for me. When I do this again, I am going to use moscavado sugar and perhaps a little less of it. Maybe espresso instead of coffee would cut the sweetness a little!