This may be the best appetizer EVER. I actually got the idea from a craft beer and culinary pairing event, BrüFrou, I attended a while back. The event was intended to showcase local breweries, and of course pair beer with food! It was a lot of fun, I tried soooo many different great local beers. I think I might have made it through 30 different samples. Two of my new brewery faves are O’dell and Yak & Yeti. Yak & Yeti did a chai milk stout! It totally picked up the chai flavors, was so creamy, rich, and balanced out the stout flavors really well. How wonderful is that?
But, back to the food. I have to say a lot of the pairings at the event ended up being really obvious, aka. pulled pork. Not that I don’t love pulled pork, I have a rockin’ recipe of my own, but it’s been done a million times with beer. Heck, you can cook pulled pork right in the beer. The pork was well done and everything but, I wanted more creativity.
Aside from too many pulled pork pairings there were a few absolutely brilliant dishes at the event. Highlights in my mind were: a lovely curried shrimp, several traditional Indian dishes (Yak & Yeti again!), a ‘bangers and mash’ shepherds pie (Biker Jim’s), and of course bacon wrapped, chorizo stuffed dates! The dates were from West End Tap House. Those brilliant people! The dates were so good I just had to figure out how to recreate a version at home.
We have an appetizer gem right here my friends! These are simple, but a perfect little, one bite of flavor and texture. The chorizo adds spice that balances the overt sweetness of the dates, and bacon adds a salty note. Tender chorizo, chewy dates, crisp bacon, give such a nice contrast in textures. Plus these smell amazing when cooking, you get that wonderful bacon frying scent with a hint of sweetness… Oh my, oh my, you can’t go wrong!
I’m not going to lie, obviously stuffing individual dates with chorizo, and then wrapping them in bacon is time consuming. But, these are so worth it. Two helpful tips: Buy pitted dates, this speeds up the process quite a bit as you can imagine. Also, after being fully assembled (i.e. wrapped with bacon) these freeze really well. Use a foil lined baking tray and lay the dates out in rows. Put in the freezer for a few hours, and then the frozen dates can be transferred to a ziplock back or tupperware for storage. This one is nice because you can prep a big batch way ahead of time for your event and then all you have to do the day of is pull em’ out and cooke em.’
So try these for your next party, or just for the heck of it. I promise you many compliments, and requests for the recipe. Enjoy!