Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bacon Jam

(Printable Recipe)
Not quite like anything else, this bacon spread is a bit sweet, a bit tangy-smokey, and plenty of good ole baconey. Although it starts out on the stove, the jamminess mostly happens in the slow cooker while you're off living your life. No big complicated jelly/jam making or canning processes here. It keeps in the fridge for quite awhile but no need to have an exact measure on that because it won't hang around for long once you try it.

Assemble the entourage:
1-1/2 pounds sliced bacon
2 sweet yellow onions, preferably Vidalia
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
3/4 cup coffee (I used Via instant)

 Start by freeing that bacon from its plastic home and cutting through the whole chunk in 1" sections to make lots of little strips.  Get these cooking in a wide skillet, stirring frequently to keep them browning evenly.

The bacon will increasingly foam as it cooks. When there appears to be more foam than bacon stir and turn one more time to assure that all is well browned and remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels.

Pour the bacon fat into a glass bowl and wipe out any dark grit but do not scrub off the browned part on the bottom of the skillet (flavor alert! we're going to use that part!). Now, return just one tablespoon of the bacon fat to the skillet and add the onions and garlic which you should have chopped into nice small dice, if the food blogger had only reminded you earlier.

Cook and stir until translucent, maybe 5 minutes or so and add the bacon back to the skillet. Now add all the other ingredients as well and bubble it about 2 minutes as you stir and scrape all those browned bits up from the bottom of the skillet.

Now it is all be ready to move to the slow cooker set on high. BIG NOTE TO NOTE HERE: Do NOT cover it. That is, no lid or it will not work right at all. The idea is to let the syrupy mess gradually cook down into a nice rich jammy spread and if covered it just become more liquidy from all the steam.

Leave it alone for 3-4 hours. You will still see some liquid but not covering the bacon and onion pieces and it will be much darker. It will thicken as it cools and change consistency considerably. Either now or after it cools overnight in the fridge put it all in the food processor and pulse 5, 6, 7 times until smoother. I left mine a bit chunky, but it's a matter of taste. Well, it's going to taste great whether it's smooth as jelly or chunky as jam, so have at it whichever way you wish!

Quick Cream Biscuits

(Printable Recipe)
Tender, rich biscuits that are also easy and quick? Yep, it's possible and so simple and there's no "cutting in the lard until it resembles the size of small peas." Also, there's no lard. Cream provides the richness that makes these biscuits perfectly flaky and delicious and is the reason they're so easy to put together in just minutes.
Here's what you'll need:

2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Join me in the scoop and scrape as this is my favored method of flour measurement. The back of a butter knife works just fine but if there's a prime implement for a job, I want to have it, so here I'm using a table crumbing device carried by waiters in snooty restaurants everywhere.
Blend the dry ingredients with a whisk to thoroughly incorporate the baking powder into the flour.

Ok, that took 5 minutes. Here's the last 5 minutes and you're done. Pour the cream into the dry ingredients in a steady stream as you stir a few times around until it's more stuck together than not. It will look like a big shaggy mess. That's fine. Turn it over and dump it out on a floured countertop. Scoop and press it together with your hands, fold in half and flip it over. Do this just another time or two and it will suddenly hold together and get a better personality.
Starts out like this.....
...really does end up like this.  Now don't touch it anymore (except to press into a parchment lined 8" pan). The secret to tender flaky biscuits is not to work on them very hard at all. Roll and beat and press that dough more than about 30 seconds and you'll be rewarded with heavy little biscuit rocks.
Bake just 15-18 minutes at 425 until lightly browned and just baked through.    Now go make some o' that Bacon Jam in the picture above and your evening will be complete! 

Comfort Food Feast continues on the Food Network's FN Dish blog! You'll find me there all winter and today you can check out these other wonderful biscuit  ideas:  
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