Meat spreads have got a bad rep. They remind me of sitting on a wet rock, spreading "sandwich paste" on a tasteless oatcake, whilst on a Welsh school activity trip. Yay for "character-building"! As a result, I'm dumbfounded as to how Eat17 have created such a buzz around bacon jam. It's in just about every gastropub burger worth its salt, and now it's in all the supermarkets too. They have turned the meat spread idea on its head, and created a product with such high quality ingredients, to the extent that it can't be compared with its predecessors. It's really warming to see a startup food brand do so well, especially when it tastes so good, and takes packaging design seriously.
I have one gripe, however. About £2.50 gets you a tiny jar of the stuff. A jar that size usually indicates something of high value, like caviar. Bacon jam ≠ caviar. I eat a lot of bacon, especially smoked streaky, so this bacon jam business could escalate my addiction into a financial black hole. So I decided to make my own, and share it with you.
Ingredients (makes about 250g) (I'd double it if you can spare the bacon)
N.B. I am a student, and don't have a food processor, so have to finely chop everything here. If you are lucky enough to have one, blitz all the ingredients up into a rough paste after cooking, and don't bother chopping stuff too finely.
A knob of Salted Butter
6 Finely Chopped Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon (if not, smoked back bacon would probably be fine)
1/2 a finely diced Onion (doesn't matter if red or white)
A handful of cooked and shelled chestnuts (I buy them vacuum packed)
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
A few dashes of Worcester Sauce
A small dash of White Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon of Sweet Smoked Paprika
1 Finely chopped/ground Chipotle Chilli
4 Finely chopped sprigs of Thyme
2 Finely chopped sprigs of Rosemary
1 Teaspoon of Tomato Puree
1 crushed clove of Garlic
In a saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter and add the chopped bacon and diced onion. Stir until the onions are softened and slightly browned.
Deglaze the pan with a small dash of white wine vinegar before adding everything else bar the garlic. Keep stirring until it comes together nicely (very technical I know, but you'll see what I mean).
The last thing to add is the garlic, as it would other wise burn. Cook until it softens, but watch it carefully.
If you're like me, and live in a house with other students, I wouldn't bother going to the effort of sterilising a jar to put it in, unless you have a fridge in your room, with a padlock. If you fall into the latter category, just wash them thoroughly, put the lid and jar face down in a big saucepan, then pour a couple of inches of boiling water round them, so it should form a vacuum, and leave for 20 mins to simmer.
It is very steal-able stuff.