Tomato Bacon Jam with Caramelized Onions & Thyme
Tomato. Bacon. Jam. Tomato Bacon Jam. TomatoBaconJam! I have a hard time not getting pretty excited about any food that involves bacon. That being said, I get that tomato bacon jam sounds a little weird. Tomato jam alone sounds strange, but bacon jam? With onions? Weird, perhaps. Delicious, absolutely. If you are up to your eyeballs in tomatoes, then consider taking a break from canning them, and mix up some of this jam. Don’t be put off by the amount of bacon called for. The recipe makes approximately two cups, which comes out to 16 2 tablespoon servings. When you break it down, each serving has less than the equivalent of one piece of bacon. While I try to eat healthy on a daily basis, I most definitely believe that even a healthy diet has room for a smidge of bacon!
There are a few steps to making the jam, but none of them are difficult, they just require a bit of attention. Tomatoes, bacon, onions, thyme, and a bit of maple syrup simmer together until cooked down and thickened. You could use honey instead of maple syrup, especially if you follow a paleo diet, but maple syrup is my favorite, so I put it in everything. Plus maple syrup and bacon are just a good idea. To start, cook chopped bacon until nice and crispy. Save a little bit of the bacon fat and saute the onions in it, slowly, until caramelized. This step is key because in caramelizing the onions first, we not only mellow their bite, but we can also maximize their sweetness. By using the sugars already present in the onions, we can add a little less sweetener later on. Once the onions are nice and brown, add all of the ingredients to the pot and let it simmer until thickened and reduced by about half.
This isn’t a fast jam. Each step takes a little bit of time and you don’t want to rush any of them. However, it’s an easy project to work on while you’re in the kitchen over the weekend doing your weekly food prep. If you don’t have a designated food prep time then you’ll just need to hover in the kitchen long enough for the onions cook, then you can just let it all simmer and come back every now and then to give it a stir. If you want to streamline the process some, you could caramelize the onions in olive oil in a separate pan while you cook the bacon. I like to minimize dishes, so I prefer to wait and use the same pot, plus then I can cook the onions in a little bit of bacon fat. Which, if you’re wondering is most definitely a good idea. Meanwhile, consider giving weekly food prep a try. You don’t have to spend the whole day in the kitchen, even just an hour. Chop some veggies, assemble a few salads in a jar, make a batch of soup, whatever you can do to help yourself have healthy food available during the week is a bonus!
So the question begs to be asked – what the heck do you do with tomato bacon jam once you’ve made it? I have yet to put tomato bacon jam on a muffin, toast, or scone, and I’m pretty sure peanut butter and jelly is not the best way to showcase it’s flavors. Think of it more as a condiment that is at home on sandwiches and burgers. In my opinion, a good rule of thumb is any time you put avocado on something, put some tomato bacon jam on as well. Simply put, this jam and avocado, they just go together. You could take a slice of turkey, spread some jam on it, lay avocado slices down the middle, and roll it all up as is pictured here. Or, put it in a wrap or on a sandwich with turkey, avocado, and spinach. Or, mix it with a little bit of olive oil mayo and add some cooked chicken for a new spin on chicken salad. Or, stay tuned for my very favorite way to use it, coming soon! Put it on whatever you want, just give it a try!
- 1 1/2 pounds diced roma or cherry tomatoes (approximately 4 cups)
- 12 oz. chopped bacon - kitchen shears work well here!
- 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
- 1 T. reserved bacon fat or olive oil
- 2-3 T. maple syrup or honey - start with 2 tablespoons, add more at the end if you like
- 1 1/2 T. white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 10 six-inch sprigs of thyme
- 1. In a medium pot, cook bacon on medium low for about 15 minutes or until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour bacon fat into a heatproof jar, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pot.
- 2. Add chopped onion to the reserved bacon fat (or olive oil) and cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until onions are lightly browned and caramelized.
- 3. Add bacon, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients to the pot and mix well.
- 4. Bring contents of pot to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 45 minutes, until jam has thickened and reduced by half.
- 5. Remove from heat and allow jam to cool. Test for sweetness and add more maple syrup, if you like.
- - Makes approximately 2 cups of jam. Serving size: 2 Tablespoons
- - Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- - For a paleo-friendly version, use honey instead of maple syrup.
- - Most bacon is gluten free, however if you are preparing jam for someone with gluten sensitivity be sure to read your label carefully to make sure!