I spent Friday cooking like a madwoman; after all, we were having the Pope over for dinner...okay, not THE Pope. But rather, Mr. S.'s buddy who's surname is Pope, but it does sound pretty neat to say that we're dining with the Pope, doesn't it? His holiness or not, I wanted to cook up something special for Mr. Pope, the Mrs. and their three kidlets. The menu I decided to go with was :
- Bourbon Bacon Jam & Fried Quail Eggs on Crostini
- Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tartlets
- Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- Ribeyes & Filet Mignon from Taylor's Market (for the adults)
- Grilled Cheeseburgers (for the kidlets)
- Roasted New Red Potatoes w/ Herbes de Provence
- Asparagus w/ Remoulade
- Cherry Pie Filling Chocolate Cake
The big hit with the guests turned out to be the bourbon bacon jam and fried quail eggs on crostini (although the meatballs were a close second). The bacon jam is pretty easy to make and if you store it in an air tight container in the fridge it can keep for up to a week. I chose to use Buffalo Trace Bourbon...it's delicious! I was first introduced to it by a bartender in Portland while on a roadtrip with a friend. I thought the oaky undertones and trace notes of vanilla would complement the rest of the spices in the bacon jam well. You only use a little bit in the recipe so you'll have plenty left over to serve your guests with the dessert should you choose to do so. ;)
Bourbon Bacon Jam (recipe by Evil Shenanigans)
1 pound thick-cup applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1″ pieces (use the best quality bacon you can get)
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dry chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup good quality bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup (does not have to be the best quality, any grade B maple syrup will be fine)
1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used sriracha)
- In a large skillet over medium high heat cook the bacon pieces until the begin to crisp at the edges but are still soft in the center, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Set aside to drain. Pour all but one tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onion and brown sugar. Cook until the onions are well caramelized, about twenty minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook an additional five minutes.
- Add the liquid ingredients and the bacon to the pan. Increase the heat to medium heat bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about two hours. Check the mixture every 30 minutes. If the mixture becomes too dry add a few tablespoons of water. You want the final mixture to be moist and very sticky.
- Let the mixture cool slightly them put it into the bowl of a food processor, or blender, and pulse about 20 times, or until it reaches your preferred consistency.