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bacon tomatillo and onion jam This year’s Derby was low key. Derby fell on the same day as a local TEDx event that I was co-catering, so I went for basics, including Kentucky Hot Browns. Traditionally, it’s a toasted piece of bread topped with sliced turkey covered in Mornay sauce, broiled until golden brown, and then topped with crispy bacon and tomato. I used roasted chicken, Swiss cheese (no Mornay) and a bacon onion jam with tomatillos. I really wanted to use green tomatoes, to keep the southern style. We just needed to go a little further south.

kentucky hot browns with bacon, tomatillo, and onion jamI ate spoonfuls of this before it made it to the sandwiches. The remaining jam is in the refrig waiting for another sandwich. I need to do a better job of straining the bacon fat. I don’t mind the cooled lard taste but jam doesn’t look as pretty a week later.




What you need:

  • 1 lb bacon, chopped
  • 1 Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4-5 tomatillos, chopped (about 1 c)
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c bourbon
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

  • Fry bacon in cast iron skillet until crispy (finish in the oven, if desired) reserving bacon fat
  • Add onion, tomatillos and brown sugar to bacon fat in skillet and sauté for 15 min.
  • Add maple syrup and bourbon.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for another 10-15 min until majority of liquid cooks off.
  • Transfer to processor and process until desired smoothness of jam is reached.
  • Add bacon and process quickly if you’d like some chunks; more if you want it smoother.
  • Transfer to storage container (I used 4-oz mason jars.)