Yield: 6 to 8 servings
These are little flavor bombs…slightly sweet, salty, spicy, porked-out appetizers for a crowd. You can prep everything in advance and throw them in the oven or a crockpot, ready to be served with little to no work from you. Get to know this sauce because it may become your go-to for quite a few things. The sauce helps cut through the richness of the dates and spiciness of the sausage, and scaled up, makes a fantastic soup!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers (will yield about 1 cup)
One can of tomatoes (you can use either whole peeled or crushed, you will need about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 2 links of fresh chorizo sausage (depending on how many dates you make)
1/2 to 3/4-pound Medjool dates, depending on what you can find at your grocery store and how many you wish to serve (approximately 15-25 dates)
1 pound bacon (not thick-sliced)
6 to 8 chives, finely chopped
5 to 10 long wooden skewers
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan or small Dutch oven. Add the minced shallot and sprinkle with salt; sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the peppers, tomatoes and shallot-onion mixture to a blender and blend until completely smooth, approximately 30 seconds. Return the mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly reduced and heated through. Add the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you taste your sauce throughout the cooking process and adjust the seasonings. Set to the side.
Preheat a grill pan over medium heat and preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the casing from the sausage. Split each date to remove the pit by cutting a slit in the top, but not completely through, the date. Remove the pit and discard. Stuff a small amount of chorizo into each date until filled, but not bulging out. Cut the bacon in half; you will most likely not use all the bacon, but I’m sure you can find something else to do with it (like just eat it?). Place the chorizo-stuffed side of the date in the middle of the bacon slice and wrap around the date. Place 3 to 4 dates on each skewer by piercing through the long side of the dates, so the chorizo-side is facing out; try to skewer through the unsecured end of the bacon to help the date stay together. Grill the skewers for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until the bacon is slightly crispy. Place the sauce in a casserole or cast-iron skillet and place the skewers on top. You can trim the ends of the skewers to make for a prettier presentation. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes until sauce is bubbling and bacon is crispy. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve with warmed flatbread for dipping.