yumm...chorizo-stuffed dates

10:00 AM sians 1 Comments

if i had to name one of the best things i've had, it would probably these little bites of awesomeness hiding a huge burst of flavor: chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce from avec. they are such winners. in fact, the most memorable part of my dinner experience at avec was these babies. it's true when they say great things come in small packages. :)

as luck would have it, i found the recipe on timeout chicago and i was ecstatic. but it was only months after that i decided on making these since i found medjool dates while i was shopping at trader joes and because i loved these yummy bites!

initially, when i searching for all the required ingredients, i thought the biggest challenge would be finding spanish chorizo which is not as readily available as its mexican counterpart. however, koren grieveson, avec's chef de cuisine mentioned of a deli in chicago where i could buy the much needed spanish chorizo but i was too lazy to make the trip out there (although it really isn't too far now that i've checked the location). hence, i opted plan b which she also provided a substitution by blending a bit of smoked paprika into a basic fresh pork sausage, about 1 tablespoon per pound of meat.

so off i went to fox&obel to try my luck to find some spanish chorizo and some other ingredients. lo and behold! they had a few selections of cured spanish chorizo at the deli counter from which i chose two to try out for the recipe - just to compare.. whee! since i was already at the store, i proceeded to the meat counter and bought some lightly spiced fresh breakfast sausage and some slices of smoked bacon (although the recipe asked for regular bacon). well, the recipe did ask to use good quality ingredients.

one ingredient that i didn't expect having difficulty finding was  piquillo peppers. it just so happens that fox&obel just ran out of inventory, so i tried a few more stores around my apartment but to no avail. next best thing: jarred roasted red peppers as substitution which can be easily found in the italian section in any regular grocery stores.

with all the ingredients in hand, time to get into making these. oh, if you are pressed for time, you could trying finding pitted dates which would eliminate one extra step. but once i had the dates pitted, i stuffed them with the two different chorizo and the pork sausage which i removed its casing and added smoked paprika, wrapped them in bacon and placed them on a baking sheet to bake them at 350F for 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

as those lil parcels of flavor were baking, i started on the sauce. for good quality tomatoes, i turned to san marzano tomatoes and added the roasted red pepper with some of the juice (not too much though cos it's a ton of vinegar) and then blended them in the blender (which i have to say have been collecting dust). i adjusted the seasoning based on personal preference at this point.

once the dates are cooked through, it needs to be broiled for a couple minutes to crisp up the bacon and then arrange the dates on sauce and it's ready to be served.

verdict mmm yummy! it had a smoky richness but with the sweetness from the dates and the tartnesss of the sauce to cut through that. even though it wasn't as delicious as the one from avec (still good tasting though!) but i was proud of my own hard work. the best stuffer of the three was the pork sausage blended with the smoked paprika. i suspect that i might have gotten the wrong version of spanish chorizo - this recipe probably requires uncooked spanish chorizo and not the cured, dried ones that has the consistency of salami.  re-reading the recipe, it does say spanish-style chorizo sausage  and not spanish chorizo as well as the step where i have to check the meat being cooked through which means probably my initial suspicion is right (yeah, i know i should have figured that out when i was cooking but i've already gotten the ingredients!) - uncooked sausage to stuff into those dates. i guess that  when i think of spanish chorizo, i think of the smoked, cured and dried types.

 room for improvement for sure: a few things such as striking the right balance of date and meat since i thought the dates might have overpowered these bite size treats. and finding the right chorizo sausage to stuff it with. if chorizo is not your cup of tea, another classic pairing is stuffing the dates with goat cheese.

i would conclude that this cooking experiment as successful! i can't wait to make this again when ryan comes to visit. or maybe for thanksgiving.. just need to search for these medjool dates again! :)

if you are searching for the recipe, you can find it here:

chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper - tomato sauce
by avec's koren grieveson
found on time out chicago website

ingredients |

  • 2 lbs medjool dates
  • 1 lb spanish-style chorizo sausage
  • 1 pkg (12 strips) good-quality bacon
  • 2 jars piquillo peppers (most jars are around 7.6 ounces)
  • 1 14.5-oz can good-quality tomatoes
  • salt to taste
directions | 
  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • using a paring knife, make a small slit in each of the dates, then push out the pit
  • slice the bacon strips in half crosswise to create two pieces out of each strip
  • wrap each date with one of the half-slice segment of bacon
  • place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes
  • once the chorizo has cooked through (you can slice a date in half to test), crank up the temperature to broil and transfer the tray to the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp up the bacon, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn
  • while the dates are baking, make the sauce. add the peppers and the tomatoes together in a medium saucepan and cook slowly over medium-low heat for the entire time the dates bake 
  • season with salt to taste, then puree the sauce until almost smooth but still with some body; think thin salsa texture. (a handheld immersion blender works great but a countertop blender is fine)
  • once the bacon is crispy, divide the sauce among six plates and top with four dates each

tip you can read more about tips on the link i provided above.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experiece and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others. 


Unknown said...

You should use better tomatoes than the ones you had in your picture. I have used those and they are very acidic and have not much taste. They arent true San Marzano tomatoes. You have to look for the DOP on the can to make sure they are the real deal, they will be so much tastier than the ones in that can that are grown in California.