So I was actually expecting to be alone for Christmas day this year. My husband was visiting his family in Ohio and my family was going to have a rather understated celebration a few days later. At the last minute (meaning Christmas day), my parents decided to visit me in Chicago. Not a lot of stores are open on Christmas day and to be honest, I had very little time (an hour and a half to be exact), so I threw together a menu based on what I could find in my house. It actually turned out pretty spectacular if I do say so myself. Sometimes it is best when you don’t have time to overanalyze the situation.
One of my “top 5” favorite dishes of all time is the chorizo-stuffed madjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce at Avec in Chicago. With just three ingrediants, the dates are amazingly complex. Really, it’s pork wrapped around pork. How can you possibly go wrong?? What took mankind so long to come up with this? Oddly enough, I had all of the ingredients I assumed to be in this dish on-hand so I gave it a shot.
Chorizo stuffed bacon wrapped dates
Thinly sliced bacon – cut in half
Spanish Chorizo – don’t use the non-cooked Mexican kind – cut into pieces small enough to stuff into date
Wow, that was easy, wasn’t it?
Preheat oven to 350
Slice date so you’ll be able to open it up and stuff it
Put small piece of chorizo inside date
Wrap bacon around stuffed date
Place on baking sheet (covered in foil for easy cleanup)
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until the bacon fat is rendered and bacon crisps up
Watch out – they are hot!
I served them in a spiced Mediterranean tomato sauce – similar to what is served at Avec (and lo-and-behold! I found a use for my Harissa!)
Spiced Tomato Sauce
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 T olive oil
4 T chopped onion (or thereabouts)
2 cloves garlic
½ cup dry red wine
1 roasted red pepper coarsely chopped
2 t harissa
1 t brown sugar
1 T fresh parsley chopped – plus some more for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft – 5 min.
Add the garlic, red pepper and harissa
Saute another minute
Add the red wine
Bring to a simmer and reduce by half
Add canned tomatoes and brown sugar
Simmer 20 minutes
Salt and pepper to taste
Put in food processor (or blender) and process till smooth
Finish with herbs