Laptop is still sick. It's home now - but I have to shop for a new one - so I'm gonna minimize my "futzing around" with pictures for the time-being.
I'll post the "Illustrated Guide" to Bacon-Onion-Jam-Making (and the "Baptism" of my Brandy-New Pressure Cooker!) in a later post...
For now, I wanted to post the "adjusted" version of my Bacon Onion Jam Recipe (before I misplace my notes!!!). And please excuse the weird background colors, I copied/pasted from the original recipe and I can't figure out how to nuke the color w/o spending waaaaay too much time editing html)
This is what I Actually Did:
QT's Bacon Onion Jam (Final)
Yield: 4 and 3/4 (almost 5) half-pint jars
- 1 lb Applewood Smoked Bacon
- 7 Medium Onions, sliced thinly (I mixed up yellow and red - but it really didn't make any difference!)
- 4-5 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 2 Tbs Golden Brown Sugar
- 1 cup fresh brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup Dried Currants
- 1/4 cup Golden Raisins
- 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/8 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/8 cup Maple Syrup (I ran out of syrup! So I supplemented with:)
- 1/8 cup mild Agave Nectar (or Honey would work)
- 1-2 tsp+ Smoked Paprika, to taste
- Salt & Pepper, to taste (optional - I didn't add any)
- In a large, heavy pot, fry the bacon 'til brown and barely crispy. Set aside on paper towels to drain and cool. Reserve the bacon grease.
- Saute the onion and garlic in appx half of the bacon grease (add more, if needed). Cook, over medium heat, until it starts to limpify - appx 10 mins.
- Add Brown Sugar and a sprinkling of salt. Turn heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally until translucent, appx 15 mins.
- Chop the bacon into 1/4-1/2" chunks (the first attempt: I did 1/4" x 1" strips and they were too big)
- Put the bacon back in the pan and add coffee, currants/raisins, vinegars and syrups. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Then immediately turn down to a simmer.
- Simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally (to prevent sticking). Add water, if needed (I didn't need it).
- Keep cooking 'til the mixture is a rich, deep brown and you can no longer distinguish the bacon from the onion (that never happened - the bacon was always "distinguishable" so I recommend chopping it into smaller chunks to begin with). It should have a thick, jam-like consistency.
- Let cool for 20 minutes. If desired, run thru a food processor to finely chop and blend the jam. Food processor/chopping wasn't necessary (the onion got pretty-well obliterated with all the cooking!) (but start out with smaller bacon chunks).
- Return to the pot. Cover and refrigerate, overnight.
- The next day, remove the majority of the (now solidified) fat from the top of the jam. Use a teaspoon and scrape off all the white fat from the top. Dig down a little, under the top layer, because there's more congealed fat hiding just under the surface. It's not necessary to remove ALL of it, but get as much as you can!
- Turn heat to low and add salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Cook on medium-high heat, bring it to a boil and immediately turn down to "simmer" until most of the liquid is evaporated.
- Check for "set" (grab a spoonful and put it in the fridge for 5 minutes. Hold the spoon vertically - if the jam doesn't drip off, it's "set").
- Transfer jam to sterilized jars and process in a pressure canner @ 15 lbs for 10 minutes (I actually think 10 lbs for 15 mins might be a bit better for the final jam's consistency).
Additional Notes: 8 onions was waaaaaay too much for my Big Ol' Dutch Oven (I think it's a 3-1/2 qt - It would hold a gallon of liquid, if you filled it to the brim). The total quantity cooked down a LOT though.
Okay, I think that's it! The jam tastes positively PHENOMENAL!!! I could eat it straight out of the jar (but it's soooo much better on sourdough!)