The story behind my whisky bacon jam is in many ways very related to my experiences in the UK. Since moving to the here, I have discovered many British food traditions. Comfortingly, many are similar to Nova Scotia (hello Sunday roast!). However, I didn’t realise until I moved over here just how important bacon was. Good bacon. Bacon that puts much of North American bacon to shame. Point in case, the bacon sandwich. Nothing, and I mean, nothing is better to eat on a cold winter morning.
In the last few years British grocery stores (OK, just Waitrose) have begun stocking bacon jam. It is tasty, perfect on so many things, but very expensive. After a lot of searching online for bacon jam recipes, and trying many, they just didn’t seem to hit the spot. So I played around with them, changing the spices and the sweetness. I got the spicy savory flavour I wanted, but it wasn’t perfect. It needed a tipple.
Over the years I have successfully grown my single malt whisky collection. I’m quite proud of the variety of bottles I have, as they encompass different regions of Scotland and Ireland. Along the way they have developed their own unique taste patterns. Some are more peaty, some more spicy, some have whiffs of the sea about them. So, I picked a more peaty Whisky and added a few drams of that to the jam. Bingo, it worked and now we have our Whisky Bacon Jam.
Whisky Bacon Jam is a combination of salty bacon, sweet and tangy spices, and the warming effects of whisky. For me, it is perfect served warm on an English muffin with a poached egg and a bit of sauce.
Whisky Bacon Jam
- 800 g streaky bacon roughly chopped.
- 2 cups finely chopped shallots
- 4 cloves garlic well chopped
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 5 drams of a peaty whiskey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or golden syrup or a blend
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
- In a large pot, slowly cook the bacon. This will likely be in batches. You want the bacon to be very crispy, with much of the fat rendered. Put aside when finished.
- Next, pour off the bacon fat, keeping only a light layer on the bottom of the pan. Don’t clean the pan out though, you want the crispy bits on the bottom. Add the shallots and slowly cook until they smell and add the garlic. Cook for about 5-10min until nice and soft. Add the spices and stir to combine and heat. Add the whiskey and maple syrup (or golden syrup), and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar and sugar, continue the boil for a minute or two. Finally add the crispy bacon and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until it becomes very jammy. At this point you can store it in a sterilized jar, eat it or as I do blend it with a hand blender. This allows it to be a bit more smooth, but not pate smooth, and spread easier.