Blackberry-Bacon Grilled Cheese

by Cindi SutterChief Communicator & Editor of Spirited Table® - Excerpted from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from TI Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Photo by Antonis Achilleos

Photo by Antonis Achilleos

This is a delicious sweet-and-spicy version (one of my favorite flavor combinations) of a traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Crisp bacon—another fave—adds a smoky element to the combo. This is excellent with my Cream of Tomato Soup on page 124. 

Serves 4 - Hands-on 25 minutes - Total 25 minutes

6 slices thick-cut bacon

2 tablespoons blackberry jam

2 teaspoons adobo sauce, from canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

4 tablespoons butter, softened

8 slices sourdough bread

4 slices Havarti cheese 

1⁄4 cup pickled jalapeño slices


  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high 8 to 9 minutes or until crisp; remove the bacon, and drain on paper towels.

  2. Stir together the blackberry jam and adobo sauce. Spread the butter on 1 side of each bread slice. Place 4 bread slices, buttered sides down, on wax paper. Top with the blackberry jam mixture, cheese, bacon, and pickled jalapeño peppers; top with the remaining bread slices, buttered sides up.

  3. Cook the sandwiches in a nonstick skillet or preheated panini press over medium 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

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You can change this up and experiment with it as much as you want. Use a different kind of cheese: Monterey Jack, Swiss . . . or pepper Jack, if you want it even spicier. I sometimes use raw jalapeños instead of the pickled kind for a bit of crunch and freshness. Shredded ham instead of bacon would be another good swap to turn this into a sweet-and-smoky, hot ham-and-cheese sandwich.