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Simmered red chard, smoked bacon, caramelized onion , granny smith and honeycrisp simmer to make a sticky sweet and savory jam.
I decided to make so platters this weekend. I figured i’d make some small bites to try out different recipes. Then I could lazily graze all weekend. The thing I love about making small platters like these is they can be really peaceful. No pressure. I like to kick it off with everyone being fed. That way nobody’s life or death depends on me finishing this particular platter. I love when the kitchen is super clean, the dishes are done and put away and there is a stack of fresh dish towels. If i can find a clean apron then that’s just a bonus.
I want to mention i’d never do a dish like this one a busy day. Unless i started everything ahead of time. It one of those dishes that require the cutting board a dry rag. knife and sauce pan. Minimal dishes. You’re not tied to the kitchen but you want to stay near to attend to this. It similar to the attention you’d give to a risotto but without the stress. It’s truly a relaxing and zen dish to make.
For this recipe i decided to just bring it all together. I thinly sliced my cleaned chard, bacon and onions thin but not too thick so that they would melt together. The chunks of apple and onions melting in the bacon fat lend a hand thicken and tightening all the chard with everything else. This spread works great for sandwiches, wraps and even a topping for burgers. Check out my tips and tricks below. Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST APPLE CHARD BACON JAM
sweet and tart apples: i use one apple each for this recipe because i love the combination. the sweet from the honeycrisp adds some natural sugar the dish. while the granny smith add some tartness and firmness so that everything is rendered down you still have bites of apples. the natural pectic that builds as you cook the apples also helps the spread for its jelly like texture making it have a smooth creaminess
slowly salt: like i mentioned before this dish takes a while and develops with time. i like to slowly draw out the moisture from everything so it can slowly evaporate back in then keep salting to keep drawing the moisture out. to achieve that you have to keep the temperature low, the pot covered only when not stirring, add a small amount of salt so you can do this a couple of times, and a rubber spatula
soak you swiss chard: swiss chard like most greens can be very dirty. i like to chop them up and soak them in cold water. i clean and resoak the greens till dirt no longer collets in the water. that can be 3 rinses, it could be 5. since chards stems aren’t too tough i go ahead and leave on as much as i can. i generally cut up to two inches towards the end.
low heat; the key to the jam getting jam like is low heat. you don’t want to burn anything. you just want everything to slowly break down, develop flavor and soften the tougher things like the bacon and the stems. the low heat will help the pectin in the apple form.
vinegar last: you’ll want to add the vinegar last. putting the vinegar too soon into the dish can cause it to break down prematurely. generally quicker cooking is a great thing but here its bad. the vinegar can cause the bacon and apples to break down too much result in a mealy, grain texture and will soften the bacon too much.
keep it covered: this jam uses no outside moisture. the only moisture used is drawn from the apples, chard, and bacon. that moisture pulls out with time. to keep the spread from burning you’ll need a pan with a fitting lid. that way while you cook and render down everything in the pan it stays moist. when you cook with out the lid its quicker to evaporate the moisture. and the whole goal of this spread is to concentrate the flavors. not dilute it with the need for water.
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