Bacon really does make everything better… unless you keep to a kosher, vegetarian or vegan diet.
Serve bacon & onion jam with crusty bread and brie…
This year, during Rosh Hashana, I was asked to bring some dips and spreads as appetizers. While I’ve been making the bacon version of this dish for some time, it hadn’t even occurred to me to attempt to make a vegan version. Until I had to. The modifications to the recipe that follows have been tried and retried… and will make any meat-lover lick their fingers and then dive in for more.
Note: I find this to be one of the more time consuming things that I make. You can half the recipe… I know that 4.5 pounds of onions seems like a lot, but it reduces down to very little. It’s so delicious that you’re going to be annoyed with yourself that you *only* made half the batch.
Setting up supplies… Bacon, thyme and onions
Rendering the bacon fat…
Bacon, beautiful bacon!
Add the onions to the bacon rendered fat
Stir to coat the onions with the fat, scraping up all of the wonderful flavor from the bottom of the pot
Add the apple juice/cider
Add the chopped bacon
Add the salt (is this a gorgeous photo or what?!)
Add the brown sugar and white wine vinegar…
Add the thyme… and stir… stir… and let it simmer… and then stir some more… until it reduces and there is almost no liquid at all.
This is what your onion jam should look like when it’s done. Thick and rich, with little liquid remaining.
Bacon Onion Jam
Optional: top with a few leaves of fresh thyme
Bacon & Onion Jam (with Vegan Variation)
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes approximately 4 pint jars
1 pound of bacon (I usually use TJ’s uncured ends and pieces)
4.5 pounds vidalia onions, medium dice
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 cups Apple Cider (I used Unfiltered Apple Juice…. so yummy!)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
10-15 sprigs thyme
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
Optional: a few leaves of thyme to garnish
Substitute 3 tablespoons of olive oil for the rendered bacon fat.
When adding the apple juice/cider, etc. add 10-15 grinds of Trader Joe’s African Smoke.
1. Heat a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven on medium/high heat.
2. Add the bacon. Cook the bacon until it is crispy and all of the fat has been rendered.
3. Remove the bacon from the pot, leaving the rendered bacon fat. Coarsely chop the bacon.
3a. Vegan’s start here by adding the olive oil to a pot and heating it up.
4. Add the diced onions to the pot. Stir. There will be some darker, possibly burned on, areas of the pot, but the onions will release some liquid and as you stir, the onions will get coated with the fat and will pick up the dark spots.
5. When the onions have softened a bit (after approximately 10 minutes), add the apple juice/cider, salt, white wine vinegar, chopped bacon, brown sugar and whole thyme sprigs. (Vegans add the TJ’s African Smoke)
6. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium/medium low. The liquid should be gently bubbling.
7. Stir occasionally. It’s going to take between one and two hours for the liquid to sufficiently reduce, so be patient. Don’t try to speed up the process by turning up the heat because you’ll burn the onions instead of caramelizing them. No one likes a burned onion 😦
8. Remove thyme sprigs. The leaves will have fallen off during the simmering process.
9. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
10. See photo for what the jam looks like when it’s done. You’ll be able to stir the jam and clear the bottom of the pot without liquid seeping back into the area you just cleared.
11. Let cool and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
12. Enjoy at room temperature, topped with a few leaves of thyme and a soft cheese… or in a grilled cheese sandwich!
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!