Chef Dez is a self-proclaimed bacon lover, through and through. But he takes it up a notch with his rosemary maple bacon jam, and he’s sharing that recipe. (Special to Black Press Media)

Chef Dez is a self-proclaimed bacon lover, through and through. But he takes it up a notch with his rosemary maple bacon jam, and he’s sharing that recipe. (Special to Black Press Media)

ON COOKING: Chef goes a little over the top integrating bacon

His unexpected jam recipe is garnering attention in kitchens and at fair alike

by Chef Dez/Special to Black Press Media

Let’s talk rosemary maple bacon jam… Yes, I said bacon jam.

Many people sing the praises of bacon, and I am no different. What happens, however, when you take that wonderfully complex flavour and turn it into jam?

True bliss.

Recently I featured my recipe for rosemary maple bacon jam at a local fair and the popularity of this recipe was overwhelming… so I decided to share it with you.

The best tip I can give you is to use premium bacon from a butcher for best results. This is not a recipe for your “run of the mill” grocery store brand.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still do it with regular bacon, but the results are much better with premium bacon.

Also, this recipe is not a place for dried rosemary. Fresh rosemary full of wonderful essential oils is the way to go.

Oh, and one last note on the ingredients, please use pure maple syrup and not regular pancake syrup.

Somebody asked me “what do you put bacon jam on?” I replied “Everything!”

Seriously though, this is awesome on crackers with goat cheese, pizzas, bruschetta, sandwiches, and almost anywhere you would like a sweet and savoury concoction.

Enjoy! You can thank me later…

ANOTHER RECIPE: Dumpling-sized pastas make for hardy soup

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Rosemary Maple Bacon Jam

Makes approximately 2 cups

“The perfect topping for almost any appetizers you may be thinking of offering to your guests, like bruschetta, cheese & crackers, canapés, etc. My favourite is paired with soft unripened goat cheese (chevre) as the creamy tanginess is the perfect match for this sweet complex concoction.”

1 pound bacon slices, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

2 medium onions, quartered and sliced thin

6 to 8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup black coffee

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Add the bacon pieces to a large, heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven.

Turn the heat to medium/high and cook the bacon until almost crisp (browned and cooked, but not crisp), reducing the heat to medium as it starts to turn brown, stirring occasionally, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan.

Turn the heat to medium and stir in the onions to the tablespoon of bacon fat followed by the garlic.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until this onion/garlic mixture is softened and slightly browned, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, rosemary, and reserved bacon.

Stir to combine and increase the heat to medium/high to bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer uncovered for approximately 90 minutes until the mixture is syrupy and has a jam like texture.

Transfer this mixture to a food processor and pulse a few times until the consistency/texture is what you desire.

Will last up to three weeks in your refrigerator.

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– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

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