I made the bacon jam on a whim one afternoon because I couldn't get the idea out of my head. A friend of mine had mentioned it while we were enjoying some beers the night before, and I found myself with some time to kill the following afternoon, and with thoughts of bacon jam bouncing around in my head. Turns out, it is remarkably easy, and incredibly tasty. I spread some on a piece of toast while it was still warm and loved it. I immediately decided it needed to be in my life more regularly. And the first way was in a sandwich.
This sandwich is a simple one- a gooey, warm, bacony concoction with the tartness of apple to cut through the cheese. And with a bit of EVERY ingredient in EVERY bite. If you try this recipe, or have had bacon jam before, please tell me how you use it. Like I said, I'm planning on keeping a standing date with the stuff, and I don't want our relationship to get stale.
adapted from www.notquitenigella.com
1 lb bacon
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coffee1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Cut the bacon into small pieces (freeze for about 30 minutes first to make this a less greasy undertaking). Saute until they begin to crisp, then remove. Pour off most of the bacon grease left in the pan. Add the onions and garlic, saute at medium heat until they soften. Add all of the remaining ingredients and the cooked bacon, along with 1/4 cup water and cook at a high simmer, uncovered, for about 2-3 hours. Check every 30 minutes, and add another 1/4 cup of water whenever the mixture looks dry. (See the referenced website for good pictures of the progression of the jam.)
Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then pulse in food processor until you reach the desired consistency.
Brush one side of 4 pieces of bread with olive oil. Spread the other side of the pieces of bread with a good smear of bacon jam. Top one bacon jam-smeared side with 3 thin slices of brie, then 6-8 thin slices of apple, 3 more slices of brie, and top with the remaining bread. (Bread-jam-cheese-apple-cheese-jam-bread)
Heat a pan to medium and place the sandwiches on the pan. Top with your heavy object of choice (I used other pans) and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove heavy object, flip, and cook for another 3-5 minutes with the heavy object back on top. Or, use your George Foreman (or similar type) counter-top grill to get panini marks and what-not. Slice into manageable portions, and enjoy!
Ideas: I thought the overall sandwich was great, but a little too sweet. Other suggestions- a very sharp cheddar with jalapenos and raw red onions OR balsamic vinegar, arugula, pears, and swiss. The jam is also delicious on an open-faced egg sandwich.