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Tobago Pepper and Bacon Jam

This past Sunday, Abundance North Carolina hosted its seventh annual Pepper Festival in Chapel Hill’s Briar Chapel neighborhood. Twenty-four chefs from around the Piedmont came together to showcase dishes that all featured locally grown peppers — from sweet, hot and everything in between. In addition to tasty samples, local breweries were also on hand to give patrons a taste of their pepper-brewed ales, many brewed just for the festival and a huge hit for the over 1,000 guests.

Restaurants and their chefs in attendance lined up in the Briar Chapel community to give festival goers a taste of what their local eateries have to offer. Some flavorful dishes included a green chili Frito pie from Angelina’s Kitchen, pepper soup with sweet corn and shrimp from Glasshalfull, peppered polenta and pepper vinegar-seasoned shredded confit pork with pepper jelly from Tribeca Tavern and a pepper grit cake with smoked and braised pork from P.G. Werth’s.

To bring a little taste of the Pepper Festival to your table, try 518 West Chef Serge Falcoz-Vigne’s recipe for Tobago Pepper and Bacon Jam. Chef Vigne served this spicy treat with North Carolina grits and pepper house-made Italian sausage.


Chef Serge Falcoz-Vigne’s Tobago Pepper and Bacon Jam

1.5 lbs. Tobago peppers
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 yellow onions, diced small
2 cups white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 oz. peeled ginger
3 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 lb. sliced bacon

Wash and clean the Tobago peppers. Keep the seeds. Chop peppers in a food processor or by hand if time permits. Combine white balsamic vinegar and the peppers. Add the whole grain mustard, diced onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, honey, cider vinegar, orange and pineapple juice, and let marinate for 24 hours.

The next day, slice the bacon in 1/2-inch sections, and sautee until almost crispy. Dump marinated pepper ingredients over the sauteed bacon. Simmer slowly until the liquid is reduced by half and the ingredients have a syrup-like consistency.

Remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate for future use. Use this jam as a marinade for meat or for adding a little something extra to an appetizer.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Serge Falcoz-Vigne of 518 West. 

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