Bacon. Caramelized onions, bacon, fresh thyme, white wine, bacon, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, bacon, chicken stock, bacon. Let me guess, the only word you kept seeing was bacon. Yeah, I’m not surprised. This recipe was one of the first that I shared when I started my blog. You can see it HERE. The photos were taken with my trusty iPhone, and they’re pretty scary. I think that is why only a handful of my earliest and very faithful readers were brave enough to try this recipe. I’m thankful they did- because to this day, they can’t stop talking about this “jam”. I felt it was time to update this post and the photos.
I have a serious foodie crush on bacon. It’s worse than the combined crushes I had on Shawn Cassidy, Scott Baio and Andy Gibb as a teen! We’re talking about an incurable, deep, intense longing for all things bacon. If bacon was a person, I’d be arrested for stalking it and creating a bacon photo collage on the wall of my seedy, low rent apartment complete with an alter, paying homage to all things bacon- just like those psycho ax murderers do on all those criminal cop shows. If I had a pig, I’d name him Chris P. Bacon. Yup. I’ve got it Baaadd!
I love bacon so much that any bacon related meme gets posted on my Facebook wall by my friends because they know I truly adore all things bacon. I’ve yet to try bacon flavored gum, soda, or toothpaste, but I did have a friend send me a bar of bacon scented soap. It had real bacon grease in it- Interestingly enough I don’t smell good when I smell like bacon. That made me sad. It’s probably for the best, however, because it did make my dogs look at me kind of strangely, like I was a large walking dog snack. When you have to 80-pound Golden Retrievers living with you, it’s probably best that you NOT smell like dog snackage. Just a hunch.
I prefer my bacon to be on the limp/chewy side, not the blackened, crispy, burnt, charred side. It’s meat, people. There is no need to cook it until you’ve killed it three times over. Just knock the oink out of it, and plate up. Even TSM (The Stud Muffin) has changed the error of his ways and now prefers just-cooked bacon to the crispy, blackened, charred stuff. Folks, don’t do that to your bacon. It’s just wrong. For the best way to cook your bacon, see THIS post. You’ll never make bacon in a skillet again. Well, unless you’re making this recipe, that is.
I almost always have bacon in my freezer and I cook with bacon grease often. I buy a good, quality (from pasture-fed piggies) bacon (from a local farmer if possible via my local co-op), or a bacon that hasn’t been preserved, and doesn’t contain nasties such as nitrites and nitrates, dyes, sugar, corn syrup, antibiotics or hormones. My favorite store brand of bacon to use in a pinch is still from Applegate Farms. These guys do bacon well, but my only complaint is that they don’t have a thick sliced variety and they only sell it in 8 ounce packages and I’d prefer at least 10-12 ounces if not a full pound. I mean, don’t get all stingy with the bacon. That’s just inhumane.
If Applegate Farms did cut their bacon thick, you’d only get like 3 slices per package, so I can see why they slice it paper-thin. This way everyone gets one, maybe two slices. If that’s the worst issue I can find with this bacon, then it’s really not all that bad. But I’ve decided to keep my bacon local. I purchased thick cut, pasture-raised bacon without any of the added nasties that I mentioned above. I support the local piggy farmer, and he continues to give me thick-cut, happy, tasty bacon. It’s a win-win!
This recipe is nothing short of pure genius if I do say so myself. I lick the pan clean after it has cooled because the “sauce” that is left behind after I’ve spooned all the jam into jars is just so flavorful. You’ll have a mouthgasm. True story! I’ve seen many recipes for this on the web shortly after I posted my original recipe and I still feel that my savory balsamic onion-bacon jam is one of the best. It is nicely balanced between salty, sweet and acidic. It is an aromatic, full-bodied, succulent, luscious, bacon-y, onion-y concoction of fabulousness.
I’ve made grilled cheese and bacon jam panini’s with this stuff, eaten it along side a nice ribeye steak, I’ve added it to homemade baked beans, it’s gone on burgers, in burgers, and I’ve warmed it up and eaten it all by itself. I can’t impress upon you enough just how much you’ll love this recipe. I have been asked to can this and sell it on my blog, but I don’t have the funds to get my kitchen licensed to do this, so until I can do that, you guys will just have to make it yourselves for now.
For this recipe you will need to julienne your onion. I found a great step-by-step tutorial for you guys with pictures (ooh, pictures) on how to do that, right HERE.
I’m curious, what is your favorite way to eat bacon? Do you just eat it plain for breakfast, or do you add it to a dish? I’d like to know so feel free to share in the comments below!
Here are some of the products I used to make this recipe.
- 1 pound organic yellow onions, sliced julienne (I used two large onions, and was a tad over 1 pound)
- 6 slices of organic bacon-thick cut
- 4 TB organic brown sugar
- 1 TB organic white granulated sugar- make sure it is organic CANE sugar (if using unrefined sugar, you may omit the brown sugar and just use 4 TB of unrefined sugar)
- Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, removed from stems and chopped
- 1/4 cup red or white wine- use one you would drink. A dry wine works best. I prefer white.
- 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
- 2 TB + 1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar
- Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and cook over medium heat until just cooked through. You don't want it crispy or hard. Trust me on this one!
- Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain, remove all but 2 TB of bacon grease and return the pan to heat. If you don't have 2 TB of Master Fat (aka bacon grease) left over, add enough butter to equal 2 TB of fat.
- Lower heat to medium and add sliced onions to the skillet, stir to coat onion slices evenly with the bacon grease (if more grease is needed, this is where I would add a little ghee or butter).
- Lightly season onions with a few pinches of kosher salt and a few cranks of your pepper mill, stir well.
- Cook the onions covered for about 15-20 minutes.
- Continue to cook, stirring every 3-5 minutes until the onions begin to turn GBD (golden brown delicious)- if the onions start to brown too much and you're running out of liquid, add a TB of water here and there to keep things happy and hydrated in the pan- cooking with the cover on will create some steam, but you may need to add a touch of water while these are caramelizing.
- Add the sugars and stir to combine and coat all the onions with the sugar. Cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the wine, cook until it reduces, about 3 minutes
- Add the balsamic vinegar and the chicken stock. Cook for another 5 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add the bacon and stir well to combine all the saucy oniony goodness to the bacon pieces.
- Remove from heat, cool and store in an airtight container in your fridge. This will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks. I store mine in pint sized jam jars.
- Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
- Take your time caramelizing onions. It takes low heat, and some time and attention, but the end result is so worth it. My onions were very dark and golden before I added the balsamic. You want a thoroughly translucent, dark golden brown look to your onions. Adding a little water (TB at a time) throughout the cooking process helps move the onions along and deglazes any oniony bits of goodness (fond) that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. It also contributes to the sauciness of the finished product. Salting your onions a few times with a pinch of salt will also help to draw out all the moisture from the onions.
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