Boozy Fig Onion Jam with Bacon

blended

Figgy Bourban JamOh my dear ones, forgive me, forgive me. I’ve been out of pocket for the last couple of weeks, but for a very good reason. Last week my love and I eloped to Napa Valley and got ourselves hitched!  The whole experience has been magical and so full of love and happiness that I am bubbling over with exuberance. I promise that as the pictures come back I will be posting all about it. There are many beautiful, and sometimes zany, stories that I cannot wait to share- and of course some amazing food.

Until then, first onto this delectable condiment and the story behind the many hands that brought it together.

figsIt starts with a bountiful fig season, which thrilled me to no end. I love the warm stickiness of fresh figs, but I’ve never had them so close to the tree that produced them. I am also so fortunate to have not one, but TWO wonderful friends who were willing to share their bounty.

The first is my ’round the corner neighbor, Cindy Gleason Johnson.  I felt like a thief at first sneaking into her backyard- but when I saw that the birds were boldly helping themselves I jumped right in. Her golden figs were so delicious that they did not stand much of a chance.  They barely made it home where upon I instantly gobbled them up in a snap.

The black figs above came from another friend in the opposite direction, Candy Peavy. Her beautiful fig tree is espallied against the side of her house into a towering glory in such a royal and commanding manner it took my breath away. Having been satiated with the first batch of fresh beauties, I had the presence of mind to think of how I might create something with this second batch.

bacon

Another dear friend Caroline Manning recently opened an amazing restaurant called Blue Southern Comfort Food.  Caroline’s got heart and soul as big as the south, and the flavors and finger lickin’ good food to match. She’s famous for clean plates and her Blue Burger, which is topped with her special Bacon Jam. It’s a sweet, oniony, syrupy topping that seeps right down into the sourdough bun and sidles up real nicely to the layer of cheese that is melted over some of the best burger beef I’ve ever tasted.

I have made NO attempt to replicate her specialty sauce, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t an inspiration. My onion jam is thicker and less sweet. The bacon adds a heft and a chew and there is the added crunchy texture from the fig seeds.  Mine also has a secret ingredient: Camellia Coffee– which adds a round dark bitter base note.camellia

Camellia Coffee is from right here in Caddo Parrish and another project of our beloved Cindy Gleason Johnson. She has created a couple of blends, but I went right for this Dark Roast. We have some amazing things being produced right in our backyards and kudos to Cindy for bringing this gorgeous coffee together for us to enjoy.

So you see, it’s all the goodness of the land and good people who can come together and create something magically delicious.

onionsintopan

The jam takes a while to reduce and meld, the whole time filling the kitchen with sweet fragrance. I have yet to try my jam on a burger, (I’ll be getting mine at Blue) I prefer it on a grilled gruyere cheese sandwich, or any other stinky pungent cheese. A Goat Brie would be awesome too.

gruyerefig

With a jar of this in your fridge, anyone could stop by at a moment’s notice and even served on toast and cream cheese, or some hot buscuits- you be having some good southern community cooking.

Boozy Fig Onion Jam with Bacon
Smoky, sweet with a hint of bourbon for lip smackin' southern goodness
Print
1145 calories
157 g
83 g
31 g
31 g
10 g
728 g
2412 g
140 g
0 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
728g
Yields
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1145
Calories from Fat 277
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g
47%
Saturated Fat 10g
50%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 83mg
28%
Sodium 2412mg
100%
Total Carbohydrates 157g
52%
Dietary Fiber 9g
37%
Sugars 140g
Protein 31g
Vitamin A
10%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
22%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound smoked bacon
  2. 1 very large yellow onion, sliced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 cups halved fresh figs
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 2/3 cup maple syrup
  7. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  8. 2 tablespoon ground dark roast Camillia Coffee
  9. 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  10. 1/2 cup bourbon
  11. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  12. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  13. water if needed to thin during pureeing process
Instructions
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, brown the bacon and then remove.
  2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of grease. Over medium/low heat gently sauté the onions and garlic for one minute, then add the fresh figs. Gently cook for 4 minutes until the onions are wilted and the figs soften.
  3. Add the cayenne, maple and brown sugar, coffee grounds and vinegar and slowly simmer until thick and a dark amber color. Add the bourbon and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add pepper and salt- adjust to taste.
  5. Add back the bacon and continue to cook for a total of one hour. Remove from the heat and cool.
  6. In a food processor or with a hand blender, puree the mixture in batches to a rough grind. There should be some texture to the bacon.
  7. Store in a sterile jar in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. Any type of fig may be used, including reconstituted dried figs if that's all you have.
beta
calories
1145
fat
31g
protein
31g
carbs
157g
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Backyard Grill Worthy Homemade Mustards #Sunday Supper

Homemade Mustard~ A Stack of Dishes.comWe are now full on to grilling season and I’m having a blast. We had a few fits and starts learning how to wrangle the charcoals into submission, but now my beloved is the grill master supreme! While I’ve been fun playing with this new medium it doesn’t take long to start thinking about condiments.

The other day in my market I spied a young “shopper in training” who had his tiny cart filled with ketchup, relish, mayo and, of course, mustard. I smiled at the thought of sunny afternoons by the grill with his family, but then I wondered about all those prepared products.

The last time I looked at a label for ketchup I was surprised to see so many undesirable (read: unpronounceable) ingredients. This got me to thinking how we mindlessly pour this stuff on without really thinking- and may be ingesting stuff we might be wiser to avoid.

yellow mustard~ A Stack of Dishes.comI was also inspired by a conversation I had last Sunday regarding a family member that thought nothing of whipping up her own mayonnaise rather than store bought. The general consensus was “How crazy is that?”. Time in the kitchen aside, there is no question that homemade condiments of any kind are far superior in taste that store bought. I know we get used to what we know, and these days, those bottles of red, yellow or white are inexpensive enough not to think twice about it- but what if we’ve been missing out on some of the best flavor enhancers of the meal??

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Quick Pickled Ramps

Pickled Ramps ~ A Stack of Dishes

Help me for a second- What movie was it where the lead actor, a fading comedian, was talking about how to be funny? “Pickles!”, he cried, “Pickles is a funny word!”. 

The funny thing about pickles for me, is I have this strange- like a lot/like not so much- relationship with them. When I was a kid I used to love pickles. I could find delight in an afternoon snack of cold dill spears straight out of the jar while watching Zoom! on TV. I mean, I could practically plow through a whole jar in one sitting. The real pickle lover in our family though is my eldest daughter, Olivia- it’s family lore.

When Olivia was a toddler her Grandmother took her shopping at the supermarket in our small town. The deli department would have a bin of brining pickles- the big honking whole ones. The first stop was to that bin, where Olivia would be handed a deli paper wrapped pickle, which she would happily gnaw on for the duration of the excursion.

endbunchThough I rarely will do it myself, when a slice of pickle is slipped into my sandwich I am always delighted. The acidic, salty, slightly sweet taste of a pickle is a brightener that I really enjoy. So why don’t I eat them more often? No idea. Maybe I’ll start now.

The ramps are beginning to make their appearance in the farmer’s markets in all their Spring glory. The first time I served them at an Easter meal, some 10 years ago, the result was a “Who’s on First” sort of conversation.

What are these Gail? Ramps. What? Ramps… What?..Ramps, they are a wild leek. A What? Ramps- R. A. M. P. – Ramp. 

It was exhausting.

These days they are prolific enough that we don’t have that conversation much anymore. What we do have are more and more recipes popping up using them.

Prepared Ramps for Pickling ~ A stack of dishesThe beauty of this tender allium, is that the whole thing is edible and delicious. The bulbs have a soft onion taste the way a leek would, but are far more tender, making them lovely to toss into a pasta or salad. The greens are also delightfully scented and flavored. You can use them the way you would any leafy herb to add some pungency to a dish.

Ramps are not in season long, a few weeks depending on the weather. They’re not inexpensive either, so it’s best to make the most of them while you can.

This is a quick pickle recipe that takes no time to make. Once you toss it all together, you only need to give it a day or two until you can enjoy them. They also keep well. I’ve had a jar in the back of my fridge for a year and they are just lovely- 

Let’s see if this batch lasts that long.

Pickled Ramps in Sandwich~A Stack of Dishes

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