Bacon Jam and Greens

I did not grow up eating greens. Maybe my mom thought they were too “country” (also in this category of things my mother never cooked — cabbage, pork chops, and anything fried. She would happily enjoy fried catfish or fried chicken… elsewhere.) Or maybe we were just picky kids (I do, distinctly, remember steamed broccoli with cheese-Whiz being a favorite vegetable side. Adult-me cringes).

But my own kids actually love “squishy kale” (as my oldest once referred to a mix of collard, mustard, and turnip greens — breaking my southern heart just a tiny bit). So when a friend mentioned that the Ruston Farmer’s Market lets you order and pay online, and that she was going on Saturday, well, we got some greens, y’all!

And bacon jam? All the best of sweet and savory, and this recipe makes enough that you will have left over a delicous way to elevate a backyard burger.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite Christmas presents this year: The Southerner’s Cookbook. Did y’all know Garden and Gun wrote a cookbook? Well, they did, and the stories, recipes, and photographs are all as amazing as you’d expect, and then some.

For the Bacon Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 medium yellow or sweet onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon or grainy mustard

Procedure

  • Cook the diced bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until the fat renders and the bacon starts getting crisp. Add the onion and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the onion is translucent, 10-12 minutes. Add the bourbon, brown sugar, and mustard, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until thick. Refrigerate until it’s ready to use.

For the Greens

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs assorted young greens. I used a mix of collards and mustard greens today, but you can use chard, kale, spinach, or turnip greens, too.
  • 1/4 cup Bacon Jam (see recipe above)

Procedure

  • Wash the greens well to remove grit. Remove the tough stems. Dry the greens and rip into bite-sized pieces.
  • Melt the bacon jam in a skillet. (If you are making these the same day you made the bacon jam, just remove all but approximately 1/4 cup of the original mixture and store it in a mason jar… then you’ll only have to wash your skillet once).
  • Add the greens and turn the heat to high. Toss until they start to wilt and release their liquid (about 8-10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Garnish with hot sauce, if desired.

Enjoy!

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