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.
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
1/2 teaspoon ground piment d’Espelette
1/4 teaspoonkosher 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.)