Bacon marmalade - Diversivore.com

Bacon Marmalade

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Bacon Marmalade

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Breakfast in a jar.

That was the idea I had when I started working on this recipe. I’m hardly the first person in the world to think of a spreadable bacon product – the internet abounds with bacon jam recipes. The basic idea is that you create a ridiculously tasty spreadable or spoonable product with nice crispy bacon, some sugar, and loads of caramelized onions. What’s not to like? I had been toying with the idea of developing a bacon jam recipe for a while, but it wasn’t until I found myself looking to develop a new (and different) Seville orange recipe that I really felt this idea coming together. In essence, I was thinking about bringing together breakfast flavours. I was imagining bacon jam with toast and eggs, but I wasn’t sure what else to add. While researching basic recipes on which to base my own, I came across this lovely coffee-infused recipe from The Endless Meal and it got me thinking about breakfast beverages. What about orange juice? I closed my eyes and pictured a lovely plated breakfast with some fresh-squeezed juice on the side. In spreadable form. Because SURE. WHY NOT.

The truth is I’ve been a hardcore marmalade-maker for years now, and while this bears very little resemblance to a true marmalade, I was driven by the idea of capturing and incorporating the fragrant, intense, bitter-sweet nature of that preserve in a very different sort of dish. While you could actually pursue a few different citrus options here (more on that below), Seville oranges are uniquely suited to the task, as they have enough character and power to stand up to bacon and caramelized onions.  No small feat mind you, as those two flavours tend to pack a wallop.

Now I’m struggling a little bit with what to say here, because this recipe definitely caught me off guard.  Don’t get me wrong – It totally works.  But the first bite of it is a little unexpected.  The key flavours are equally bold, and they seem to jostle for attention.  You have this brief moment of confusion where your brain thinks it’s eating some kind of orange-flavoured bacon (I mean… I guess it is?). But then something happens – that first bite primes your palate and lingers.  All of the sudden you find yourself a little hooked on the combination, digging spoonfuls out of the jar and looking for excuses to eat some more.  I did some research for this paragraph by eating a tiny spoonful from the fridge (I know, my life is hard).  Just that one little nibble was enough, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.  Orange and bacon and caramelized onions and brown sugar.  It’s familiar and exotic all at once, and it just works.  It might just be the best breakfast invention since… well, since sliced bread.

The Croque Petite

Consider this a recipe within a recipe. You don’t need to make this, but if you’re looking for an amazing way to eat your bacon marmalade, I’ve got you covered (because you will be tempted to eat it out of the jar, and it’s probably best not to do that… too much).

Given that bacon marmalade is backed with sweet and savoury breakfast-friendly flavours, I whipped up a few little snack sandwiches to show it off. I’ve dubbed these ‘croque-petites’ – little bites. I always imagined these as tiny little open-faced snack sandwiches, though honestly I have no idea why. I guess it just seemed like fun. The way I’ve laid it out (and photographed it) here, you end up with a very shareable sort of appetizer tray, though You could just as easily adapt this and make a meal-sized sandwich (probably with a chicken egg rather than quail eggs, unless you like cracking tiny tiny eggs over and over just for yourself).

I’m not going to give quantities, as you can simply adjust this to as many sandwiches as you like. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • baguette, cut into thin rounds
  • smoked gouda cheese
  • quail eggs
  • black pepper
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • bacon marmalade
  • butter

Here’s what you do:

  1. Top the rounds of baguette with a thin slice of smoked gouda and place them on a baking tray.
  2. Melt a little butter in a frying pan or on a flat griddle.  Carefully crack the individual quail eggs without breaking the yolks (this can be tricky – sometimes the shell wants to peel away from a section before the membrane beneath will break).  Fry enough sunny-side-up eggs to cover the baguette rounds.
  3. Preheat a broiler.  Place the cheese-covered bread under the broiler and cook until bubbly and browned.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Top each toast with a fried egg, black pepper, parsley, and a dollop (about 1 tsp) or bacon marmalade.  Enjoy.

Of course you could tweak this in all kinds of ways, but I really, REALLY want to go on record as having said that the smoked gouda is the perfect cheese for this.  Creamy and distinctive without overwhelming, the smokiness is the perfect accompaniment to the bacon and the citrus.  It really ties everything together.

If you give the bacon marmalade recipe a try and you come up with another great way serve it, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Recipe Notes

As with several other recipes here on Diversivore, this uses the poorly understood and truly underrated Seville orange. If you’ve never used Seville oranges before, do yourself a favour and click that last link to check out the Ingredient Page I’ve written up all about finding, choosing, and using them. Even if you can’t get any for this recipe, I’ll have some suggestions below. The rest of the recipe involves pretty straightforward and common ingredients, so let’s dive in to the tips and tricks.

Seville Oranges and Citrus Options

By way of an ultra-quick summary I’ll state the following: Seville oranges have an intense and delicious orange flavour, and they are decidedly NOT sweet. If you can find them, use them for this, for marmalade, for other recipes on my site, and for Mexican, Spanish, and Cuban cooking. They’re a wonderful ingredient. If you can’t find them though, you can still make this.  The best substitution is a mixture of sweet orange (e.g. navel), grapefruit, and lemon.  When it comes to the zest component, you can substitute sweet oranges for Seville oranges at more-or-less a 1:1 ratio.  Sweet orange zest is often a little less fragrant and punchy than it’s sour Seville cousin, but it will still do the job.  Try adding a bit of grapefruit zest as well to round out the flavour.  As for the juice, you DON’T want to use sweet orange juice as a 1:1 replacement, as it will be too sweet.  Instead, try about 50% sweet orange juice, and 25% grapefruit juice, and 25% lemon juice.  The grapefruit juice brings some of the herbal, floral quality to the mixture that you’d get from Seville orange, while lemons add a bright sourness that works really nicely.

If you only have sweet oranges and no other citrus, you could try reducing the amount of brown sugar by about a tablespoon and adding about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  You’ll get a different end product, but a very good one.

The Simple Art of Caramelizing Onions

I really, REALLY love caramelized onions.  They’re one of those delicious, simple, contemplative foods to make.  Treat them carefully and keep an eye on them, and they just kind of take care of themselves.  If you’ve never made them before, don’t worry – they’re quite easy.  The key is to avoid rushing and to keep an eye on the pan.  I like to start out with a relatively hot pan, sauteing the onions to get the process on its way.  Once that’s done and well before the onions start to brown, turn the heat down as low as you can get it and leave the onions, spread out in the pan, for as long as it takes for them to turn a deep golden brown.  Resist the urge to stir them too often, but do make sure to spread them out evenly and avoid scorching on any hot spots. And if the pan or the onions ever starts to look dry, just add a little more bacon fat. Mmm, bacon fat.

Quail Eggs and The Croque-Petite

If you do decide to make the lovely little Croque-Petite sandwich/appetizers I mentioned above, there’s and not much to them. I like using a day-old baguette to make the little toasts. It’s a good way to use up leftover bread, and it works texturally. The quail eggs are delicious and the perfect size for these, making them ideal for sharing or snacking. That being said, frying perfect little sunny-side-up quail eggs can be a challenge. Trying to carefully crack a quail egg can be frustrating, as the bits of shell can pull away from large sections of the membrane beneath. I recommend peeling away a section of the egg, then trying to either gently pry the egg open over the pan, or cutting through the membrane with a small pair of kitchen scissors. Unless you have very delicate fingers, it’s a little too easy to accidentally press too hard and to basically explode the egg over the pan. Still tasty mind you, but not pretty.

If you’re looking for the same flavours in an easy meal for one or two, just use large pieces or bread, fry up some chicken eggs, and make full-sized sandwiches instead. Either way, they bacon marmalade is going to perfectly bring it all together.


Nutrition Facts
Bacon Marmalade
Amount Per Serving
Calories 178 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.001g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0004g
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 504mg 21%
Potassium 96mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 8g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 0.5%
Vitamin C 23%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

Note: nutritional information is shown for the bacon marmalade ALONE, and not for any other ingredients. 1 serving reflects 1/12th of the total, or about 1.5 tablespoons.

GOOD NEWS:
While the bacon flavour is big and bold, the caramelized onions and Seville oranges also contribute a lot to the recipe while shifting the nutritional profile in a healthier direction.

BAD NEWS:
This is (obviously) bacon-centric, meaning that there’s plenty of (tasty, tasty) salt and fat.

TRIM IT DOWN:
There’s not a lot that can be done to alter the recipe here, though you could try a reduce sodium bacon, or even a less fatty smoked/cured pork product. Ultimately, bacon marmalade is meant to deliver a big flavour hit, so it’s best (and healthiest) if used sparingly with other ingredients. A single serving should be enough when served along with eggs, toast, etc.

Ingredient Pages

Pantry Pages

No pantry pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free

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5 from 1 vote
Bacon marmalade - Diversivore.com
Bacon Marmalade
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
This unique and delicious take on bacon jam combines crisp bacon, caramelized onions, and the zest and juice of Seville oranges.
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Preserves, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Canadian, Miscellaneous, North American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 178 kcal
Ingredients
  • 325 g thick cut bacon chopped
  • 800 g sweet onion diced (about 5 cups, or 2 large onions)
  • 1 seville orange (juice and zest)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cloves crushed
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Remove the zest from the Seville orange and set aside (see note). You should have about 1.5 tbsp. Once you've finished zesting the orange, cut it in half and squeeze out the juice. Strain the seeds and set the juice aside - you should have about 1/3 cup (80 ml).
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed pan) over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is a just a little bit crispy (about 6-7 minutes - longer if your pan is smaller and the bacon is crowded). Once the bacon is finished, remove it from the pan and set it aside to drain on a plate with some paper towel. Pour off the bacon fat and reserve 1.5 tbsp for the next step.
  3. Add the onions to the pan along with 1.5 tbsp bacon fat. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and just starting to brown a little. Add the orange zest, orange juice, spices, brown sugar, and reserved (drained) bacon. Stir to combine.
  4. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow the onions to caramelize. This should take between 20 and 30 minutes. Stir occasionally (every 5 minutes or so) to ensure that everything is cooking evenly. If the pan begins to look too dry or the onions look like they're in danger of scorching, add a splash of water and/or little bit more bacon fat. Once the jam is thick and an even golden brown colour, remove it from heat.
  5. For a coarse, chunky jam/marmalade, you can leave the mixture as is. If you want to make the mixture into a spread (as I did), transfer the contents to a small food processor and blitz until the bacon and onions relatively small but still distinguishable. You want a spread with nice crispy and soft little bits, rather than a smooth paste.
  6. Serve bacon marmalade warm with toast, eggs, cheese, or just a spoon. Leftovers (if there are any) will keep in the fridge for several weeks and can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Recipe Notes

When zesting citrus, the easiest tool to use is generally a microplane. I dislike using box graters, as it's difficult to avoid grating into the bitter white pith. That being said, you can always go this route if you're careful. If you have a cocktail citrus zester (i.e. the ones with a line of small holes for peeling strips of zest), it can be a surprisingly quick and efficient way to remove the zest as well, though you'll have to chop the resulting strips of zest with a knife before using them.

CROQUE-PETITE

If you're looking for a serving suggestion, try my 'croque-petite' sandwiches/appetizers. Simply slice some baguette into rounds, then top with melted smoked gouda (melt under the broiler to toast the bread), fried sunny-side-up quail eggs, cracked black pepper, a bit of chopped parsley, and a dollop (~1 tsp) of bacon marmalade. Want to make it a bigger sandwich for one? Simply scale up the quantities, use larger slices of bread, and fry a chicken egg instead.

Comments

  1. First I must say that I too ADORE caramelized onions and often use it as a pizza topping but now I’m so intrigued by bacon jam!! I never knew there was such a thing. I’ll be sure to add it on my “to try list”. Seville oranges are hard to come by where I live so thanks for the alternative solution. Love, love the idea of the quail eggs and crocque-petite 🙂

    1. Author

      I think once you make your own caramelized onions and realize that they’re quite simple (time consuming, but simple), you get hooked. They’re just SO good with SO many things! I know Seville oranges are tough for a lot of people to find (though a lot of that is a perceived lack of demand – grocery stores can totally get them in stock in season if they know that people want them), but I think equally stunning results could be achieved by the variation. If you give it a try, I hope you’ll let me know!

  2. Those croque-petites, with their perfectly cooked eggs, are beautiful. I’ve made Bacon Whiskey Jam before and it was insanely good and eaten primarily with baked brie and a baguette. I love that you added citrus and cinnamon in yours. I think it would be a perfect little topper to a stack of pancakes, also

    1. Author

      Ooh, Bacon Whiskey Jam sounds great. I do like cooking with whiskey. I love the pancake idea! I think a bit of maple or birch syrup would round out that combination quite well too.

  3. Sounds amazing, Sean! I love all of those things so I can only imagine the flavour party when you put them together! Definitely on my foodie bucket list 🙂

  4. I love bacon jam! But the like you said who doesn’t! I like the addition of adding the orange to the jam to balance out the strong bacon flavor. I have made bacon jam with pineapple to add a little tartness, and I can really see this orange working very well with the rest of the flavours. Awesome pictures as always!

    1. Author

      Pineapple sounds like an interesting idea too. I wonder what a bacon jam with a bit of candied pineapple would be like. Hmm, things to try…. I have a recipe from a preserving book for a pineapple ‘mustard’ that I quite like. Despite the name, it’s more of a semi-savoury preserve or chutney, so it’s in sort of the same vein as this. That being said, I think your idea to combine it with bacon is wonderful! Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you liked the shots. It’s always a challenge to shoot spreads and the like, so I’m glad this one went over well.

  5. I know this is supposed to be ‘breakfast in a jar’ but as you started describing the flavors I couldn’t help but imagine eating this for every meal of the day. I’m a big fan of bacon so everything about this sounds amazing.

    1. Author

      Haha, well thank you Charlotte. Frankly I’m a fan of breakfast flavours at any time of the day. And yeah, it’s hard to say no to good bacon. Cheers!

  6. You are so clever! Also you’re killing me with those Seville oranges.. one day I’ll find some! I’m not a bacon-eater personally, but the husband would DEVOUR this! I’m loving those little croque petites though- the eggs are PERFECT!!!

    1. Author

      Thank you Sarah! That means a lot to me, especially coming from you! I’m always hopeful that I can pique people’s curiosity enough to get them out there trying unfamiliar things. At this point I think I should find out if there’s some kind of Seville orange growers association… see if I can get a commission. Haha. And I’m glad you love the eggs so much – they were a lot of fun when they worked, but I will admit that sunny-side-up quail eggs can be a labour of love. Love, and periodic cursing. Cheers!

  7. Sean, there is so much excellence going on in this post! The addition of seville oranges to a bacon marmalade is nothing short of brilliant. Love those warm, fragrant spices you’ve included too. I have to say, though, the croque petites are giving me serious breakfast envy! The smoked gouda with the quail eggs and this beautiful marmalade just sound perfect for a weekend morning. Those yolks are just so vibrant and luxurious!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much Amanda! The spices are just enough to round out the character of the marmalade without distracting from the orange/bacon/onion flavours. I’m really glad you love the sandwiches too – certainly not something I’d whip up every day, but I’m pretty excited to have a go-to breakfast bite at my disposal should the need arise. And I can also say that larger, less labour-intensive sandwiches made with a single chicken egg are equally delicious, and certainly a treat when making breakfast for one or two. Thanks for your wonderful comments and the compliments!

  8. holy wow! Its 6 am here in Los Angeles and Im thinking of heading to the market to get everything to make this. Usually Bacon is all I need in the morning,(noon or night ) but your descriptions of both the jam and the little petites have me literally insistent on making this ASAP. The fact I saw seville oranges at the market last week and was wondering about them I figure is a sign I MUST make this. I also have a girls get together later this week and I want to try this over a goat cheese spread appetizer Im serving. The tangy cheese with the bacon, orange and onion flavors…. I just know the gang will be begging for the recipe!

    1. Author

      Thanks Michele! I’m jealous of your citrus availability. I have to hunt for Seville oranges around here, but as you can probably tell I’m at no loss for ideas to try out with them. I think the marmalade would be perfect with goat cheese! You’re absolutely right too – that tangy/citrusy/savoury combo is bang on. I can’t wait to see how it goes! Cheers!

  9. Wow, I really need to try this! I came across some bacon marmalade when we were traveling in Canada last year and I was totally intrigued, but I never thought to make it myself. I love the mix of ingredients, and I am sure it would definitely take breakfast to the next level 🙂 YUM!

    1. Author

      Thank you Donna! I’m intrigued that you came across a bacon marmalade in your travels. I wonder if it was a bacon jam like this, or more of a true marmalade with an added bacon element? Either way, very yummy (and tasty). I’m glad this one appeals to you! Hope you get to take a shot at it some day.

  10. Oh my god!! I need to make myself some of that bacon jam, with the quail eggs it’s just fantastic! I haven’t seen this type of jam ever, I’m totally sold to it! Genius mix with the Sevilla Orange and caramelized onions, it would make great tapas those croque petite. Top notch Sean!

    1. Author

      Thank you Marie-Pierre! I’m pretty pleased with it – it’s one of my odder creations in some ways, but I really love how the flavours play. I think the bold yet mellow flavour makes the bacon jam ideally suited to tapas, as you say – and quail eggs are just perfectly sized too. You should look into bacon and onion jams more too – there are some AMAZING onion jam recipes out there that incorporate balsamic vinegar. Very different from this recipe, but equally amazing. Cheers, and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  11. Wow Sean, this looks awesomely tasty ! I have never thought of making a marmalade with bacon ! And together with Sevilla Orange…..I bet is out of this world ! I like that you use quail eggs, just the right size for an appetizer. Your sunny sides look so perfect, I can never get them out without breaking the yolks ! Thanks for sharing !

    1. Author

      Thanks Vicky! It’s a pretty fun recipe – though I’d guess it’s more accurate to call it a bacon jam with Seville orange than a true marmalade with bacon (though that sounds pretty interesting too…). Still, I had to come up with a name, so I’m going to stand by my choice. 😀
      I’m glad you liked the little sandwiches too. Admittedly, quail eggs can be a bit finicky – I made about 12 eggs… 6 of them didn’t have broken yolks. So yeah, not always the easiest. Fortunately they’re still tasty even with a broken yolk! Thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment!

  12. Marmalade is my spread of choice so this bacon jam has me incredibly curious. This sounds like a great cocktail party addition as well as breakfast. I’d love to see the look on my kids faces when I tell them their jam is bacon! 😉

    1. Author

      High-five, fellow marmalade fan! Don’t get me wrong, I like jams and jellies plenty (and I make a lot of them), but there’s something about the textural, bittersweet character of marmalade that’s just the best. I definitely think you’re right about having it at a cocktail party too – either as a pre-prepared amuse bouche or at a little DIY snack station. And I’d like to see that look on your kids’ faces too! Mine were pretty interested in the idea… and in pretty much any bacon for that matter. Cheers, and thanks for commenting.

  13. Sean. I can say unequivocally and irrefutably that the stuff you can & preserve, is amazing. I hoard the jars you’ve given me and I rarely share because hot DAMN they’re good! I’m excited as a pig in bacon-marmalade to see this recipe on your blog.

    PS. It just occurred to me that a pig would actually probably maybe be more than a little traumatized to roll around in anything bacon. Good. More for me to roll in 😉

    1. Author

      Kristy, you’re makin’ me blush! I’m so happy to know how much you’ve enjoyed the jars I’ve gotten to share with you (and there will no-doubt be more in the future). I’ve got that special batch of bourbon cherries sitting in the pantry from you that I’m saving for a special occasion, so I know what you mean when you talk about hoarding the good stuff! 😀
      And as for that pig – yeah, I don’t know how they’d feel about the bacon part. But all I could think was “hmm, pork marinade…” – so I guess I’m thinking about doubling down on the pork-y goodness now.

  14. I love how this is like breakfast in a jar, as you say! I’ve personally never seen a spread like this at the store, so it would make for a great gift to the bacon-crazed people in my life. As well, I’m loving how you’ve plated it. On toast with an egg and a scoop of the spread—yum!

    1. Author

      Thanks Cassie! I’ve come across the occasional onion jam in stores (usually a fancy artisanal balsamic vinegar style onion jam) but I’ve never seen anything like this either. I think one of my favourite things about preserving is that you get to really expand your horizons to make preserves that are well outside of the norm! I’m glad you like the plating too – I spent the better part of a week hemming and hawing and trying to figure out how to photograph the bacon marmalade, so I’m glad my final decision struck a chord with you (and so many others!). Cheers!

  15. Ok…so you got me at BACON. LOVE LOVE LOVE bacon. What a great way to enjoy it. I was just a butter tart festival ( the Canadian that I am), and actually bought some bacon butter tarts. You know…I think this would make the perfect filling for tarts….hmmm…I just might have to see if it works.

    1. Author

      Thanks Gloria!! Bacon butter tarts sound AMAZING (and yes, VERY Canadian). I think you’re on to something with that tart filling idea… possibly with a nice custard base. Hmmmmm… ideas….

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