Recipe: Bacon Fennel Jam

Earlier this month I attended the 7th annual Pig & Pinot –  a fundraiser for Calgary Meals on Wheels held at Hotel Arts. The event featured a number of local chefs and restaurants competing for the coveted Divine Swine trophy sponsored by Alberta Pork. The challenge to chefs: perfectly pair a pinot with a unique and creative dish utilizing free-range pork from Spragg’s Meat Shop.

Since I adore a good surf & turf dish, I made a few repeat visits to the Tango Bistro station where fresh oysters were served on the half shell with bacon fennel jam.

Tango Bistro‘s head chef Trevor Hopper graciously agreed to share his recipe for bacon fennel jam. This recipe makes three cups which can be stored in the fridge for up to a month (although I doubt you could make it last that long). For those who don’t love oysters, bacon jam is great condiment to keep on hand and is great on burgers, with cheese, fresh bread or just on toast.

Bacon Fennel Jam
Recipe courtesy of Chef Trevor Hopper, Tango Bistro

What you’ll need…

1 lb bacon cut into lardons or small diced
1 small yellow onion julienne against the grain
1 large bulb fennel cored and julienned
½ oz minced garlic
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chili flakes
1 lb peeled apples (fresh or frozen) rough chopped
3 sprigs thyme tied in a bundle
2/3 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp grainy mustard
3 tbsp sherry vinegar ( or cider vinegar)
1/3 cup Brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste


1. In large heavy bottom pot, brown bacon and remove excess fat. Add onions and fennel and saute until starting to brown, add garlic, fennel seeds and chili flakes cook for three minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients, turn to low heat and let reduce until all items are tender and broken down approximately two hours.

3. Transfer to jars and keep in fridge up to 4 weeks.

To assemble the oysters with bacon jam, take your favourite oyster and shuck it on the half shell, and detaching the oyster from the shell.  Keep the oysters on a bed of ice or salt so they do not tip over, using about 1 tsp of jam per oyster and garnished with chopped chives.