Salty, smoky bacon is braised with onion, brown sugar, chicken broth, and Espelette pepper, then blended into a sweet-savory jam, in this recipe from Top Chef season 6 finalist Kevin Gillespie. Spread some on a biscuit with eggs for a rib-sticking breakfast sandwich, dollop it atop a bowl of creamy potato soup, or toss it with some charred okra.
What to buy: Piment d’Espelette is France’s only native pepper, and it is so highly revered that it is protected by AOC status. It has a nice heat and is worth seeking out at a gourmet grocery or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute hot paprika.
Game plan: The bacon jam can be cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm before using.
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 55 mins
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground piment d’Espelette
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Place the bacon in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is starting to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
- Add 1 cup of the broth or stock and bring it to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add 1 more cup of the broth or stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining cup of broth or stock, honey, Espelette, measured salt, and black pepper and stir to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and reserve the pot. Blend until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the lid from popping off).
- Return the mixture to the reserved pot, place it over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. (At this point, the bacon jam can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm before using.)