BACON WRAPPED CHORIZO STUFFED DATES
(This recipe is part of “A Tapas Experience.”)
My Introduction to Spanish Cuisine
I was first introduced to Spanish cuisine a few years back on a whim and out of complete ignorance. Around 2011, my husband and I had been out and about all day running errands. By the time we got back to our loft in downtown Kansas City, I was wiped out. The last thing I wanted to do was exert energy on figuring out what to eat and prepare a meal. Of course, I’m sure I would have had to run to the grocery store as well. I don’t know about you, but I am the worst when it comes to having the necessary items in my fridge when I am ready to cook.
We were hungry and exhausted. Tacos and nachos sounded pretty dang good about this time. We had recently heard of a “Spanish” restaurant just within walking distance of our place. Okay, so you are probably already judging me over my lack of culture. As I look back, I am quite embarrassed at my naiveté concerning Spanish food. In this particular 2011 moment, I had no idea what kind of an educational experience I was about to encounter.
La Bodega – Spanish Tapas Bar in Kansas City
We stroll down the street and venture upon this charming place called “La Bodega.” What a great little spot, cozy and inviting, although it didn’t seem like your typical taco and nacho joint. We sat ourselves down in a cozy chair next to a table in the middle of the restaurant. Famished and ready to grab a quick bite, we waited for our waitress to bring over the menus. What?! Gambas a la Plancha; Albóndigas Caseras; Patatas Bravas; Datiles con Jamón y Chorizo. What is this? We were so out of our cultural element. It took a bit for us to shake off the desire of a golden crispy taco shell filled with meat, cheese, and sour cream, but thank goodness we stuck around. To this day, La Bodega is one of my favorite places to take friends and family, not only for the food but the experience as well.
Remember the Datiles con Jamón y Chorizo (from above)? Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates. This dish, from “La Bodega,” uses pancetta which is Spain’s version of bacon. I would have to say, of all the tapas that I have had over the years, the Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates will probably always be my favorite. I enjoy ordering them while I am dining out or preparing them for any occasion with friends and family.
Three Simple Ingredients – Chorizo, Dates, and Bacon
There are three simple ingredients that go into this luscious morsel of goodness – chorizo, Medjool dates and of course BACON (or pancetta). There is one other ingredient that I included before serving – honey drizzled over the dates. When you first sink your teeth into these dates, the saltiness of the smoky bacon is what grabs your attention. The date itself has a paper thin skin with a creamy center that is seriously like candy. When you stuff it with spicy chorizo and wrap it up in bacon, beware, an addiction is soon to follow. It is so delicious, that I promise you will want to eat the entire plate. They are so rich, though, you will have trouble eating more than two or three.
Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates – Simple to Make
Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates are super simple to make, although they do involve a little bit of time. Even though you have to pit the dates and stuff them with chorizo, they are so worth the time and energy. One nice thing about this recipe is, these Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates can be made ahead of time and frozen. When you are ready for a party (or even an afternoon of indulgence by yourself) thaw and fry them as normal.
I promise you – these little gems will be the hit of any party and everyone will be asking for the recipe. The tray you carried them in on will be empty in about three minutes, and you will be heralded as the hero of the evening. So, get ready to be toasted and a statue erected in your name (well, that may be going a little too far).
Variations to the Recipe
There are several variations of this appetizer you can try. One of my favorites requires no cooking at all. Stuff the dates with one part mascarpone cheese and one part goat cheese mixed with a good amount of chopped basil. Instead of bacon, prosciutto is what wraps around these dates. This particular recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis. Look it up – you will love this “easier than pie” delicacy. One thing you should know, though, these stuffed dates are more intense than the chorizo stuffed ones. You can barely eat more than one because they are over the top in decadence. I’ve seen other recipes where you can add Manchego cheese along with the chorizo; you can stuff them with blue cheese, some recipes call for an almond inside the date. Use your imagination.
View the full “Tapas Experience” here.
- Many Spanish dishes are distinctive to their particular region. The Chorizo sausage, though, is found in all of Spain which produces around 65,000 tons of it a year. Spain’s yearly chorizo output weighs more than 406 Boeing 747s!
- A small town of Vila de Cruces in the Galicia region of Spain (very likely chorizo’s place of origin) holds a gastronomical Fiesta every year in honor of this most famous sausage. The Festival, which is the biggest of its kind is known as “The Exaltation of the Sausage.” The “Exaltacion de Chourizo” has an interesting history. For centuries, a small town hosts a local pig market. Farmers would arrive before the fair, or “feira,” with their fattened hogs to sell, gather in front of the church and pray for good prices.
- Dates are found to be rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols which help to fight disease-causing free radicals. There are very few people that are allergic to them. They also provide zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, calcium and other minerals that may help lower blood pressure, stroke risk and labor complications. Date Palm Trees produce about four million tons of dates a year and cover about 3% of the earth’s farmland.
- According to Los Angeles Times, Scientists using radiocarbon dating have confirmed that an ancient Judean date palm seed among those found in the ruins of Masada in present-day Israel and planted three years ago is 2,000 years old — the oldest seed ever to germinate. The seed has grown into a healthy, 4-foot-tall seedling, surpassing the previous record for oldest sprouted seed — a 1,300-year-old Chinese lotus. The tree has been named Methuselah after the oldest person in the Bible.
A Tapas Experience
Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates
Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates – there are three simple ingredients that go into this tasty morsel of goodness – chorizo, Medjool dates and of course BACON. A scrumptious Spanish Tapas.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 24 Stuffed Dates
- Category: Spanish Tapas
- 3/4 lb uncooked bulk Spanish chorizo
- 24 Medjool dates
- 12 slices of thin bacon (cut in half lengthwise)
- honey (for drizzling)
- Slice the date lengthwise on one side. Remove the pit from the center. Stuff the date with a heaping teaspoon of chorizo. Gently squeeze the date around the chorizo and wrap a slice of bacon completely around the stuffed date securing it with a toothpick. Repeat with each date.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Place the bacon wrapped dates in the skillet. You may need to work in batches since there are 24 dates. Cook each side for about 2 minutes until the bacon is crisp on all sides.
- Remove from the skillet and display on a serving platter. Drizzle with honey and serve warm.
- When you are choosing bacon, don’t choose the thick slices because it can overide the balance of the other ingredients. And don’t choose the really thin slices. You definitely want to be able to taste the bacon. I find that medium thickness works the best.
- Make sure the dates are from the produce section of the grocery store and not the baking aisle. Pick the ones that are not dried out or shriveled. You want the plump and juicy looking ones.
- Don’t forget the drizzle of honey. It compliments the sweetness of the date.
- Serving Size: 2 dates
- Calories: 450
- Sugar: 35g
- Sodium: 508mg
- Fat: 23g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 39g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 15g
- Cholesterol: 21 mg