Bursting with flavor, this bacon-laced condiment has jalapeno peppery heat, balanced acidity and fruitiness from apple cider vinegar and fresh orange juice, and bright sharpness from fresh ginger root. Bacon, the main ingredient, contributes its own elements of umami meatiness, saltiness and smoke. You will love a spoonful of it atop a piece of brie or a grilled burger, and you have to make it to eat it. It can't be bought, to my knowledge, in any store. —marie rama
applewood or cherrywood-smoked bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch wide pieces
medium-size shallot, diced
seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
packed light brown sugar
apple cider vinegar
fresh orange juice
peeled fresh ginger, each about the size and thickness of a quarter
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp and the fat is rendered, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet.
Add the shallot and jalapeno to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the shallot is softened, about 2 minutes, stirring often and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Return the bacon the skillet and add the brown sugar, cider vinegar, orange juice, bourbon, ginger, and bay leaf. Cover the skillet and let come to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer gently, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the bacon mixture to a mini food processor and pulse until the bacon is finely diced but not pureed, 10 to 15 times, pausing several times to scrape down the side of the bowl.
Place the Bacon Jam in a small bowl and stir in the honey and a couple of grindings of black pepper. Serve with assorted cheeses and crackers, or as a delicious condiment for a grilled burger, steak, or chicken.