Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ah-MAZING Grilled Cheese

Who is in the mood for a yummy cold weather recipe? While here in Texas we have had a relatively mild winter, but I know a good majority of the country has not. Grilled cheese sandwich is one of my favorite things to eat when it is cold and yucky outside.
Now I am a chef at a shop that sells gourmet cheeses, and yes, we feature MANY different grilled cheeses on our menu. We recently changed things up on the menu and added some new ones. Out of all of them I think this one has become my favorite.

Bacon Jam is amazing stuff. Bacon is pretty awesome on it's own, bacon jam just kicks it up a few notches. Now I make our bacon jam from scratch for the kitchen. You can do it yourself, it is however time consuming. You can buy it from here , but $19.99 for only 7 oz (plus shipping) is VERY steep in my opinion. If you are in my neighborhood stop by Gourmage, We sell our special recipe (using high quality Raisin River apple wood smoked bacon) for WAAY less.

So back to the grilled cheese, First you want to seek out some really good multi-grain bread. You won't find anything good in the bread isle of your grocery store, all those loaves are too soft and squishy. Head over to the fresh bakery, or better yet if you have a good farmer's market close by or a good independent bakery check them out. I cannot stress how important the bread is. A grilled cheese is just a few ingredients, maybe 4 at the most, tops. All need to be the best you can find.
Next is the cheese. Now at work I make this with Chimay Grand Cru.

Chimay is a Belgium brie-like cheese. The rind is washed in the famous Chimay beer giving the cheese a yeast-y almost bread like finish. It is fabulously stinky, smooth and creamy. It is a great melting cheese, making it perfect for grilled cheese, fondue, mac and cheese, etc.

Next of course is the bacon jam. As I said before it is a long process to make it. The majority of the time tho (well how I make it anyway) it doesn't need your attention. I use the slow cooker to cook it. From start to finish it’s an all day job, but oh so worth it. Here are some links to a few recipes. In my recipe I do not use chipotle. I prefer for this application it tastes purely of the bacon.

Slow Cooker Bacon Jam
Homesick Texan Bacon Jam Recipe -This one was the first one I made and while I LOVED the smokey spicy-ness of it, I felt it totally overpowered the cheese.

The trick to grilled cheese is to grill the bread on all sides. I use softened butter and smear all sides of the bread. Grill until the first 2 sides are browned and slightly crispy. Next spread on about 2 oz. of bacon jam (more or less depending on how large your slices are) and top with about 4 oz of the Chimay cheese (make sure to cut off the rind and slice in to thin-ish slices so it melts faster) Top with the other slice of bread (also browned and crispy on the 1 side) placing the un-grilled side up. Cook over med-high heat for about 4 minutes each side or until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted.

( I apologize for the lousy picture. I had to rush and this is what turned out. :( poo poo. But the sandwich was YUMMY)

A few other ideas for the bacon jam (if you decided to make it you will have a LOT of it. But fear not, it lasts a LOOOONG time as long as you keep it tightly covered in the fridge)

  • Heat it slightly and smear it on a freshly made waffle.
  • Breakfast sandwich. (biscuit or English muffin split open, smear of bacon jam and an over easy egg. I suppose you could do scrambled egg, but the runny yolk is so much more fun!)
  • Smear on bread for a turkey sandwich instead of mayo.
  • My FAVORITE BURGER: Good organic ground beef, stuff the center with Tallegio or Chimay and grill it. put a thick smear of bacon jam on top of the meat after you have flipped it and serve on a grilled bun.
  • OR Mix some bacon jam in the ground beef!
  • Mix it in your Mac & Cheese
  • Bacon Jam, lettuce and Tomato sandwich :D
  • Just a spoon is good too!

Recipe: Grilled Cheese with Chimay and Bacon Jam

2 slices good quality multi-grain bread
2 oz. bacon jam
4 oz. Chimay Grand Cru, rind removed

Spread butter on all 4 sides of bread. Cook on griddle over medium-high heat till browned. Spread bacon jam on one of the sides, top with cheese and place other slice of bread on top. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve hot with a cold beer. ;)

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