You probably know by now how to make a great cheese board. My favorite way to elevate this party staple is with warm, gooey baked Brie and savory-sweet bacon jam. This hot, creamy dip is decadent and satisfying, the perfect focal point on a grazing board. To keep things cozy on a chilly night, pair it with a homemade mulled wine. The epitome of a Christmas cocktail, this drink dates back to before the Middle Ages, but really became a holiday tradition in late 1890s Germany Christmas Markets. The spiced, hot beverage soon spread across Europe, with each country developing their own version. A great mulled wine builds off a base of dry red wine with fresh orange slices, brown sugar and cinnamon sticks. It is the perfect festive complement to our cheese board.
Baked Brie with Bacon Jam
16 ounces Brie cheese, cubed with rind removed
6 slices of center-cut bacon, chopped
½ cup chopped shallots
4-ounce jar red pepper jelly
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Place the cubed pieces of Brie into an 8-by-8 casserole dish. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a heavy, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the chopped bacon and shallots. Sauté until the bacon is crisp and browned and shallots are soft.
- Drain off the excess bacon drippings. Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the pepper jelly, salt and pepper. Heat until it begins to simmer.
- Remove from the heat, and pour the pepper jelly mixture over the cubed Brie.
- Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before plating on the board.
1 bottle of dry red wine
1 cup brandy
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
4 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoons whole cloves
6 pods of star anise
- Place the red wine into a heavy saucepan and turn the heat on medium.
- Add in the sugar and honey. Stir to dissolve.
- Add in the remaining ingredients. Bring it up to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low and steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve the mulled wine warm.
This article was originally published in the December 2022 issue of 225 magazine.