Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Bacon and whisky marmalade - best of both worlds

They say (who are they, anyway? What do they know?) old dogs don't learn new tricks. hah, say I. Last weekend alone I learn a bunch of stuff. Like the fact that

- my phone has an operating system
- operating systems require updates
- I'm not cut out to even update my hairstyle
- cooking in demo kitchens in front of total strangers is soooo much fun
- professionals do that leaving behing soooooo much less mess than us bloggers...
- bacon well and truly makes everything better (can I get an amen?)

And while bacon making everything better is already a bit of a universally acknowledged fact, when you add whisky... Enough to reduce a grown man into tears. 

Last weekend I did two demo kitchens. At the first one I made shakshuka (and  I can only imagine, a total ass out of myself) and on Sunday I was at an organic food fair promoting a wicked artisan cheese (yes, cheese. My old nemesis.) To go with the grilled cheese I made , I cooked this condiment. I wasn't sure what to expect but the feedback I got from the crowd (yes, there was one. And it wasn't even roped in by Dad, my #1 fan) was that the recipe needs to go on the blog ASAP. So, dears, here it is. 

This portion was enough for about 60 sample portions and makes about 7 dl of marmalade. In an air tight container it keeps in the fridge for about 4 weeks (bet your sweet ass it won't!) but sure, you can go ahead and halve it for smaller needs (you'll regret it, though), in which case it takes less time, too. 

Bacon, whisky and onion marmalade:

850 g bacon, cut to 1/2 cm strips 
6 largeish onions (total weight 1,4 kg), peeled and chopped into 1/3 inch cubes
2 dl brown sugar
0,5 dl (maple) syrup
6 tbsp (0,75 dl)  whisky (can be omitted or substituted with cognac)
1,25 dl cider vinegar
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
(salt, black pepper)

Roast bacon strips on a dry pan or in a big coated pot in a couple of batches over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the colour is dark but they haven't quite gotten crisp yet and are still chewy. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the pan and drain over kitchen towel. Pour out the rendered bacon fat, reserving 3 tbsp. 

Sauté the onions in bacon fat, stirring every now and then until it's soft, golden and starts caramelizing - depending on the size of your marmalade batch this takes 20-50 minutes. Add sugar and increase the heat a bit. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, add the remaining ingredients (save the salt and pepper).

Let simmer over low heat until liquid has evaporated and mixture has thickened to the consistency of marmalade (depending on the size of your batch 20-60 minutes) - as it cools it sets even more. 

Check the taste and season as needed. Let come to room temperature before spooning it into jars. 

Great accompaniment with cheeses (yes, cheese!), on bread... or wolfed down straight out of the jar (what do you think I'm doing at this very moment?). 

I served with grilled cheese. Take two slices of good bread (such as this no knead bread) , scatter generous amount of grated cheddar on one of them, sprinkle some fresh thyme on top and press the other half on top of it. Fry over medium heat in butter on both sides until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden and crunchy.

Store the marmalade in fridge, but take into room temperature about half an hour before (or blast it in the microwave for a couple of seconds) to allow it to soften. 





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