Smoky, Sweet Tomato-Bacon Jam

The perfect burger topping: a slow-roasted tomato-bacon jam that’s reminiscent of backyard BBQs and good, old-fashioned picnics.

Smoky, Sweet Tomato-Bacon Jam

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

Perfectly balanced tomato-Bacon jam you'll want to make again and again.

I love a good burger, and I’ll take one pretty much any way I can get it.  That being said, I’m a big fan of burgers with creative and fun toppings, and ‘special’ sauces are sort of my burger-based Achilles heel.  I’ve been thinking about ways to elevate my standard burger for a while, and I’ve come up with a few successful recipes.  One combines bell peppers, onion, herbs and feta cheese inside turkey patties with a quasi-tzatziki sauce on top, kind of a Greek-style burger.  Another is this burger with a smoky and sweet tomato-bacon jam smothered on top of melted gruyere cheese.

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Perfectly slow-roasted tomatoes fresh out of the oven.

If I do say so myself, this jam is insanely tasty. It’s a combination of slow-roasted tomatoes, HALF A POUND OF BACON, brown sugar and a blend of spices that provides just the right balance of spicy, smoky sweetness.  It’s great on a burger, but it would be awesome on a regular sandwich or even as a side dish with the addition of some kidney beans.  In fact, if you’ve ever been to a BBQ and had some slow-cooked baked beans, the flavors in this recipe will transport you right back to that picnic table.

The wonderful thing about a recipe like this is that you can use the tomato-bacon-onion base and tweak the rest ingredients to develop totally unique flavors. For example, if you dial back the brown sugar in my recipe, and kick the cumin up a notch, you’ll have a jam with a distinctly southwestern vibe which would be phenomenal on a breakfast scramble. Similarly, if you subbed tomatillos for the tomatoes and played around with the spice and sugar blend, you could create something zesty that would go great with some pepperjack cheese in a fried wonton.  The possibilities are endless, so set aside a few hours to slow-cook this blend of veggies, bacon and spices and see where the recipe takes you!

Ingredients:

5 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half, lengthwise (I remove the tough stem area as well)

2 tbsp olive oil

Half a pound of bacon (I like applewood smoked for this recipe)

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

Not quite 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (this is a scientific and very professional measurement)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

4.5 tsp packed brown sugar (taste the jam as you add the sugar to get your desired sweetness level)

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp ground sage

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Slow roast your tomatoes by placing them face up on a baking sheet and roasting them at 250 degrees for 2 hours, until they are shriveled.

Meanwhile, cut your bacon into bite size chunks and cook them over medium heat in a skillet until just crispy.  Remove bacon from the pan and pour out excess fat, but leave about two tablespoons of the grease in the pan.  Add the chopped onions and cook for a few minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic powder, and cook two more minutes, stirring to coat the onions.  Add the red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan.  Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar and all spices and stir to combine.  Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes, for 45 minutes to an hour, until the mixture looks like jam and has a thick consistency.

Spread the jam on a burger (or whatever you like) and enjoy!

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