Oh, Canada! My home, native land, and where maple syrup originated. First collected by the indigenous people, Canada became the largest producer of maple syrup, and today exports 70% of the world’s demand. Sweet and silky, this amber syrup has hints of toffee and caramel and is like no other. If you’ve been lucky enough to taste our famous export, then you know what I’m talking about. Every spring our maple trees are tapped and the sap that collected is carefully boiled down to pure syrup. Maple syrup is used on everything from an oozing pancake or French toast topping, to a popular dessert flavour to a sweet glaze for vegetables, chicken, fish or pork. So basically this magical syrup goes with everything! Bacon and maple syrup in particular, are a delightful combination and one of my favourites. When your maple syrup runs all over your plate and soaks into your bacon, there are no complaints! So when my friend and I found a recipe for Maple Bacon Jam we knew we had to make it. Paired with some strong cheddar cheese on fresh multigrain bread, this Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese is truly the tastiest way to say Happy 150th Birthday Canada!
This recipe is from Better Homes and Living, and the only change I made was to swap the regular bacon for maple bacon. We bought the two-pound pack from Costco and it took all our will power to not sneak a little bite. Their bacon is so thick, salty and super maple-syrupy!
The ultimate sweet and savoury combination, the sweet, caramelized maple flavour balances the rich, salty bacon and strong cheddar cheese. Using mayonnaise instead of margarine or butter is a grilled cheese maker’s secret for a perfectly crispy browned sandwich.
Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Maple syrup flavoured bacon is caramelized into a sweet and savoury jam, complimenting the strong cheddar, making for the ultimate grilled cheese!
- 1 pound maple bacon chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1` medium yellow onion minced
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup strong coffee
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup old cheddar cheese thickly grated
- 2 slices multigrain toast 1/2 inch
In a large pot (Dutch oven works best) over medium high heat, saute bacon until just brown and slightly crisp on the edges. Remove cooked bacon and pat excess grease off with paper towels.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from pot. Turn heat down to medium low. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and coffee. Bring to a boil. Add cooked bacon.
Simmer on low for 1½ hours, stirring every 10 minutes, watching closely as the sugar will burn easily. Bacon jam should be thick and syrupy.
Transfer bacon jam to a food processor or Vitamix. Pulse jam until creamy but still a bit chunky. Spoon into 125ml mason jars. This jam cannot be processed and must be stored in the refrigerator. Use within one month, or freeze up to three months.
Head cast iron pan or grill on medium low heat.
Spread one tablespoon of mayonnaise on each slice of bread and place in hot pan. Quickly top with half the cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons of bacon jam and remaining cheese. Place 2nd slice of bread on top, mayonnaise on the outside. Cover tightly with a pan lit or ceramic plate.
Toast for 2 minutes on one side until lightly brown. Flip and toast on the other side until brown. Turn off stove and leave covered for a minute or so until cheese is melted, making sure the sandwich doesn't burn.
Slice in half and serve with ketchup or sriracha!
With this delicious sandwich in hand, I say Happy Birthday Canada! I’m so proud to be a Canadian and live in a country that believes in equality, diversity, peace and protecting our planet. I’m thankful for all you have given me. From the beautiful camping trips to a safe home, a group of friends from many different cultures and the freedom to express myself and believe anything is possible. Cheers to another a hundred and fifty years!