Bacon Marmalade – First Attempt

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, one of the major reasons I started blogging was to document my journey to replicate the bacon jam that we tasted at the Niagara Street Cafe. The bacon jam seemed more like a marmalade to me so that is where I decided to start.

I took a basic marmalade recipe that is simply:

4 Oranges
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar

Usually you would use the peels from all of the oranges but I didn’t want all of the peel flavour. So I used the peel from one orange chopped finely. Then removed the peel from the other 3 oranges and chopped all 4 oranges keeping as much pith as possible. The pectin is in the peel and pith and since I am only using the peel from 1 orange I need more pith.

Put the orange and peel in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate for at least an hour. Then remove from water and put into a pot with a cup of fresh cold water. Heat until boiling and then cover and simmer for an hour.

Once the orange and peel have simmered for an hour add a cup of sugar and reheat to boiling. Reduce and simmer the mixture until the temperature is 220° F. Use a candy thermometer to measure this. But if you don’t have one you can check by taking a teaspoon of the marmalade out and putting it into a bowl. If it sets within a minute then it is ready.  Takes approximately 40-60 minutes to get to the required temperature.

Meanwhile I cut a pound of double smoked bacon into lardons and sauteed over medium-high heat until just short of crisping. Removed from the pan and then sauteed 1 medium onion, finely diced, in the bacon fat for 5 minutes then removed. I gave the lardons a further chop to get to a fine dice and then mixed with the onions and let cool and placed the mixture into a one pint jar.

Once the marmalade was done I put it through a strainer into a pint jar with the bacon since I only want the liquid portion of the marmalade and not the pulp and peel.

Overall the bacon marmalade was good but not quite what I was looking for. There is too much peel taste in the marmalade compared to the Niagara Street Cafe version, so on the next attempt I will just make an orange jam or jelly to mix with the bacon. It will still make a great glaze for a pork roast or pork tenderloin.

Chocolate Bacon Braised Lamb Shanks

After tasting my Chocolate Bacon Jam in my last post, I thought that it would be perfect as a base for braising either lamb shanks or short ribs. Having 4 lamb shanks in the fridge sealed the deal for me.

Recipe:

4 Lamb Shanks
1 Tbsp. Bacon Fat
1 Med. Yellow Onion chopped
3 Carrots Chopped
3 Celery Stalks Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 Cup Red Wine
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Water
2/3 Cups Chocolate Bacon Jam
5 Peppercorns
1 tsp. dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown all sides of the lamb shanks in the bacon fat in a 4 quart dutch oven on medium-high heat. Remove the shanks and saute the onion, celery and carrots on medium heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a further minute.

Add the wine, broth, water, jam, peppercorns and rosemary and heat until boiling, making sure that any of the brown crispy bits on the bottom of the dutch oven are scraped off. Once the liquid is boiling then remove from heat and add the lamb shanks to the liquid. Cover the dutch oven and put into the oven for 3 hours.

Remove the shanks and strain the liquid then reduce liquid by half on the stovetop over medium low heat. Spoon liquid over the lamb.

I served the lamb with roasted root vegetables including baby turnips, fingerling potatoes, carrots, and golden beets then paired the meal with a 2005 E. Guigal Gigondas.

2005 E. Guigal Gigondas

Chocolate Bacon Jam

The obsession continues. Just plain bacon jam was obviously not good enough so when we tasted our finished product it gave me an idea. Why don’t we add espresso instead of coffee and also some chocolate to add richness and depth to the bacon jam.

Game on!

Chocolate Bacon Jam – an original Saint Elk recipe

4 lbs of double smoked bacon chopped
2 medium white onions chopped
2 oz. 90% cacao dark chocolate
2 cups of espresso
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup of molasses
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water

Cook the chopped bacon on medium heat until brown but before it becomes crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside. Cook the chopped onions on medium low heat until the onions start to take on a light caramel colour approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan.

Combine all ingredients except for 1 1/2 cups of water in a dutch oven and heat until boiling then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Every 30 minutes add another half cup of water.

Once the liquid has been reduced to a thick syrupy mixture remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes. Place mixture into a food processor and puree for about 30 seconds.

Dark Chocolatey Colour

There you have it. Rich and velvety undertones of chocolate and espresso but with the salty, savoriness of the bacon.

The Finished Product

This is going to be a great flavouring for the braised lamb shanks I am going to make tomorrow.

We’re Jammin’…Bacon Jammin’

Extreme Makeover Bacon Before Shot

Today was a very good day. Any day that involves cooking 4 lbs. of bacon has to be great. This was the start of our exploration into the world of bacon preserves. We started out easy basing our jam on a recipe from Not Quite Nigella.

The Recipe

4 lbs. choppeddouble smoked bacon
3 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup minced garlic
4 cups brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Start by cooking the bacon on medium heat until it is browning and not quite getting crispy. Then remove the bacon from the pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and combine with the bacon and all the other ingredients in a 4 quart dutch oven.

Cooked for 2 Hours and Ready for the Processor

Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 2 hours until the all of the liquid has been reduced. Then let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes and then puree in a food processor for about 30 seconds.

Ready for Toast

The jam is in jars and should be good in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Tomorrow morning we will have it on toast with poached eggs. For lunch we will have it on a chicken sandwich with tomatoes and lettuce. Tomorrow night maybe as the rub on a pork loin roast.

Bacon Jam and Bacon Marmalade

Bacon

Jam

What the…?

Bacon what?

That was Jeanne’s and my response to seeing bacon jam on the menu at the Niagara Street Cafe in Toronto.This had to be tried because as everyone knows, more bacon equals more better! The bacon jam was being served as a sauce on roast Kurobota pork loin that evening. Amazing does not even begin to describe the smokey, rich yet sweet flavour that explodes in your mouth when you taste this jam.

Actually jam is a bit of a misnomer, this concoction is probably better described as a bacon marmalade, with chunks of house cured bacon intermingled with carmelized onions in a citrusy? suspension. The Niagara Street Cafe uses this dish as an ingredient in brunch dishes, appetizers, main dishes and of course in desserts. Nick Lui, the chef at Niagara Street even won a Toronto preserve competition with his jam back in October.

At the end of dinner my wife asked Anton Potvin (the owner and a friend) if we could beg, borrow or steal some of this fantastic jam to take home to Calgary with us. He passed us on to Chef Nick and after some serious begging and cajoling he sent us home with a jar.

The meal by the way was absolutely amazing! If you are ever in Toronto make sure you give it a try. (Make reservations as they are really busy) Here are links to some reviews if you want a second opinion.

Toronto Life

Yelp

National Post

Toronto Star

The jar is now sadly empty. We gave tastes to any of our foodie friend and family that have dropped by our home and also used it as a glaze on a wild boar loin that we cooked for Jeanne’s parents. So…now we have to make some since we will not be in Toronto for a while. This will be the project for the weekend.

After doing some research online I was able to find a number of recipes for bacon jam or bacon marmalade that are all a common theme:

Justin Keith’s Bacon Marmalade Recipe

Not Quite Nigella’s Bacon Jam Recipe

Jeroxie’s Bacon Jam Recipe

 These are all a bit different than the jam from Niagara Street Cafe but we will give them a shot. Hey! They’re made of bacon too, so have to be good. We will try to recreate the bacon jam from Toronto but it will take some trial and error. So stay tuned and we will let you know on Sunday.

* Jam image courtesy of Darren Robertson