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You know when you’re out dining somewhere and you eat something that you just have to have again so you chase down everyone you can possibly find in order to get your hands on the recipe?
This recipe is one of those.
Bacon jam. Tastes good with wine. Remember that.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Last December, I joined my millionth wine club. Okay, not my millionth, but my husband seems to think so. Oftentimes, you join a wine club after you’ve been drinking for several hours only to get home and ask yourself what the heck was I thinking? I do that a lot. I get home and I see that brochure in my purse and I think craaap! It’s a real problem.
If you’ve never been wine tasting in Paso Robles, from the outside, Vina Robles appears to be a gigantic, corporate-owned winery that sells commercial bulk wine that’s forgotten the instant you take a sip. I couldn’t have been more judgmental or wrong. I’d been there for concerts (they have a beautiful outdoor venue where national acts regularly perform), but never had their wine. I’m a wine snob. I like small, family-owned and operated wineries. You know, the places that do everything themselves and aren’t bragging about their gold medal awards from the state fair because their wines are actually being rated in the 90’s by the wine industries’ most respected wine critics.
Vina Robles is one of those places. It’s owned by two families with the last name of Haas. They are Swiss and they love what they’re doing.
So, I kept the membership and told myself I’d wait it out, I’d do one wine club shipment and see what all the fuss was about.
Here’s the thing about most wine club pick-up parties: the food they bring in is generic and not expertly paired with any particular wine. Not Vina Robles. Each of the four wines in the shipment were paired with one dish—this time it happened to be brunch items.
The moment I sunk my teeth into this bacon jam and took a sip of their latest release of Petite Sirah, I was sold. This wasn’t like other bacon jams that I had tried at home. Sorry Bobby Flay and Paula Dean. This is what bacon jam dreams are made of.
After successfully chasing down the recipe (just by asking nicely!), I began playing around with different ways to use bacon jam. There are endless ways of using it—but like everything else, I have my favorite ways of enjoying it:
On a breakfast sandwich with eggs, ham, avocado with the bacon jam spread across the toasted-to-perfection English muffin.
In place of bacon slices on a BLT. It’s not as messy and it’s SO delicious.
On a GRILLED CHEESE sandwich.
On toast or crostini.
Drizzled on baked brie with deliciously roasted pecans.
Whichever way you choose to enjoy bacon jam, serve it alongside a nice, large serving of Petite Sirah, preferably one from Paso Robles. Those Petite Sirah grapes are super-happy in Paso Robles.
Vina Robles Petite Sirah 2012, is $21 and is big and bold. Perfect for this bacon jam on a BLT.
Villa San Juliet Petite Sirah 2012, $16 is also big and bold, with slightly more acity than the Vina Robles Petite Sirah.
- 1 1/2 pounds bacon
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 4 large yellow onions
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sherry
- pinch cayenne
- 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
How to cook Bacon Jam
- 1. Place bacon in large, heavy pot over medium heat until bacon is crispy and the rendered fat is foaming about 10 minutes.
- 2. Pour bacon and rendered fat while foaming, into a strainer over a bowl to drain fat, reserve the fat.
- 3. When fat is drained and bacon is cool enough to handle, remove bacon to a cutting board and finely chop.
- 4. Return pot to medium heat; drizzle 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat and butter in pan.
- 5. Sauté onions and 1 teaspoon salt until soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.Stir brown sugar, sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, black pepper, and cayenne into onion mixture; add bacon.
- 6. Stir water into bacon mixture and cook until jam is a red-brown color and has a jam consistency, 10 to 15 minutes.
- 7. Remove from heat and stir balsamic vinegar, olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme into jam; stir until shiny and heated through.