1 ½ pounds bacon, chopped
2 teaspoons butter
4 large yellow onions, diced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup water
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat until bacon is crispy and the rendered fat is foaming about 10 minutes. Pour bacon and rendered fat into a strainer placed over a bowl to drain fat. When fat is drained and bacon is cool enough to handle, remove bacon to a cutting board and finely chop.
Skip Step 2 if you have already caramelized the onions
Return pot to medium heat; drizzle 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat and butter in the pan. Saute onions and 1 teaspoon salt until soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir brown sugar, sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, black pepper, and cayenne into onion mixture; add bacon. Stir water into the bacon mixture and cook until jam is a brick-brown bacon color and has a jam consistency, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme into jam; stir until shiny and heated through.
Bacon jam is an incredible gift to give — especially around the holidays. You want to cool the jam to room temperature before storing it in jars in the fridge. If you give bourbon jam as a gift, make sure to attach a little note that the jam should be brought to room temperature before serving — this makes it easier to spread — and suggest your favorite way to serve it (even if that just swirled into plain pasta).
Pack the jam into an 8-ounce jar or 2 4-ounce glass jars and store in the refrigerator.
Make ahead: The bacon can be cooked 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the bacon and bacon fat separately.
Storage: Refrigerate for up to 1 month. Warm the bacon jam slightly before serving.
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I love bacon jam, and this looks like a really good recipe! I've bought it but not made it, but I really need to change that; I use it constantly when it's on hand. I'll add a spoon or two to sofritos or sauce/soup bases as I'm building them, and it adds so much flavor. It's great on burgers and hot sandwiches too, especially grilled cheese.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say there are very few things that aren't improved by tossing in some bacon jam, up to and including brown sugar cookies. Mmmm!