January 25, 2011

Apple, Brie, and Bacon Jam Panini

 I am extremely excited about this post because it involves bacon and sandwiches.  I feel very strongly about both.  Bacon is one of the only meats that I actually missed when I didn't eat meat.  Occasionally a burger also sounded good, but mostly bacon was what I found myself longing for if ever wanted meat.  Bacon is also really one of the only meats I like in a sandwich.  Most deli meats disturb me- have you seen the "turkey breast" at the Boar's Head counter?  No turkey's breast ever looked that uniform and unstriated.  It's completely unnatural.  And speaking of sandwiches, I can go on a good rant if I'm served one with sub-par ratios among the various ingredients, or worse, if there isn't an arrangement such that each bite contains some of each ingredient.  How annoying is it when you get a sandwich with one round tomato slice, a pile of onions, an squirt of mustard all in the center of the sandwich so that the corner bites have nothing but cheese and bread crust?  It's really annoying, that's how.  

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. 
Bacon Jam
adapted from www.notquitenigella.com
1 lb bacon
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coffee
1/4 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.  


  1. BACON FREAKIN JAM!!! I have a jar in my cupboard too. Amazing.

  2. i knew you'd like this one- and way to be the first to comment!!!