Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Burger Bliss

At some point, I totally gave up on my little garden. Blame it on our funky summer, or the tree that fell into my yard and never allowed much sun to get through even when there WAS sun, or blame it on my seeming inability to grow things. Whatever it was, the proceeds from my little garden plot were almost nil. I mean, I failed at zucchini. How does ANYONE fail at zucchini???

I am most bummed about my tomato plants, two of which have finally started to bear fruit, even though it’s now too cool for them to get very far. But I was so looking forward to mountains of tomatoes - so much of a bounty that I’d have plenty to use green.

We are HUGE fried green tomato fans in my house.

I did have a very nice co-worker bring me a bag of green tomatoes, which I used several times before they started to ripen too much to use in that capacity. I had them hanging in a bag on my kitchen door, and I had kind of forgotten about them. Last weekend I was going to throw the bag out and then noticed that not only were the tomatoes still fine, they had ripened. So here I was with a bag of about 6 tomatoes that were going to spoil if I didn’t do something with them in fairly short order.

So I decided to make some jam.

I had also received a few poblanos from another co-worker, and I had also picked up some really nice pepper bacon, so the makings of a plan began to form. I went to work on my little concoction, and the next night decided to test drive it on something really basic - a burger.

So, armed with some good quality ground beef, ciabatta rolls and my tomato jam, I whipped up a batch of my standard dry rub, cooked the burgers to a satisfying medium doneness and slathered them with the tomato jam.

Happiness ensued.

Spicy Tomato Bacon Jam

5 strips good quality, thick-cut bacon, cut into a fine dice
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
4 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 medium sized poblano chile, seeded and minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves

In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until cooked through and beginning to crisp. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes until onions have cooked through. Add tomatoes and chiles. Cook for a few more minutes until tomatoes begin to break down. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and allow to cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool in pan and then transfer to jars or covered plastic containers (will make about 2 or 3 cups of jam. Keep in fridge or freezer.

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