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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Soda Bread with Herbed Goat Cheese and Bacon Jam

We are celebrating all things Irish this week, so I am starting out with a re-post of my favorite soda bread recipe. Actually, it's the only soda bread recipe I use anymore, because it comes out perfectly anytime.

I wanted to make something different to top it with, because I am bringing it to my brewing date this afternoon, and introducing a new group of people. I have made bacon jam in the past, but it was fairly labor intensive. I saw a recipe online that required cooking it in a slow cooker, and I liked the ingredient list, but I didn't want to make it in the crockpot. So, I switched it up a bit, and changed a couple of ingredients.

We have a vegetarian in our group, so I also needed a topping for her. I thought the tangy goat cheese would be good with the sweet and smoky bacon jam. They are perfectly yummy together ! So, forgive the long post, there are three recipes here.

Bacon Jam
1 1/2 pounds smoky bacon, cut in one inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup (you can use maple also)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large dutch oven, brown bacon, remove from pan, let drain on towel. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, and saute the onions and garlic in the grease until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently. Be careful not to scorch. If mixture becomes too thick, add a little water. When it is very syrupy, add bacon back to the pan, stir completely, and remove from heat. Use immersion blender to mix to a "jam-like" consistency. Put in a glass jar and refrigerate.

Herbed Goat Cheese
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped finely
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey

Mix all ingredients together with a fork, refrigerate overnight.

Irish Brown Soda Bread
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white, all purpose flour
14 ounces buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease and flour a Dutch oven. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk gradually to form a sticky dough. Place on a floured surface and knead lightly (too much kneading will allow the gas to escape).

Shape into a round, flat loaf the size of your Dutch oven. Place in the pan, cut a cross in the top of the loaf (the Irish say this will let the "evil spirits" out of the bread). Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the cover and bake for 10-15 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is lightly browned. The bottom of the loaf will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done.

Remove from the oven, place a damp tea towel over the top of the loaf and cover until cool. Place in an air tight bag. This will only keep a few days, so eat it quickly, and share !

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