In this issue’s Fresh Family Recipes, we feature two recipes from sister restaurants GRACE and Little Red Wasp. While GRACE focuses on upscale, elegant dining, and Little Red Wasp features “straightforward food and lots of beer,” both restaurants are known for the freshness of their ingredients and the imaginative takes on classic American cuisine. Adam Jones, mastermind behind both restaurants, shared the following recipes.
GRACE’s Chorizo Stuffed Dates
2 pounds seeded Medjool dates
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound applewood smoked bacon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, minced
6 dried chipotle chiles
3 dried ancho chiles
3 dried guajillo chiles
3 dried arbol chiles
¼ cup peanut oil
Roast the chiles:
Remove the stems from the dried chiles and place on a baking sheet. Roast the chiles in a preheated 200° oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chiles are crunchy. Place the chiles in a spice grinder or a blender and grind into powder. Turn the oven up to 350°.
Make the Chorizo:
Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Add the peanut oil and heat until slightly smoking. Add both the ground beef and the ground pork, cooking until slightly browned. Add the minced garlic, minced onion, and ground chiles. Cook through. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool until you can handle the mixture.
Stuff the Dates:
Gently stuff approximately 1 tablespoon of the chorizo mixture into a date. Wrap each date with one piece of bacon, securing with a toothpick. Place the wrapped dates on a baking sheet and cook until the bacon is slightly crisp. Serve warm. This makes approximately 50 dates.
Little Red Wasp’s Pimento Cheese
2 pounds cream cheese
1 ½ cup Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated [Editor’s note: when we made this recipe, we found we prefer Tillamook’s extra-sharp cheddar that we grated ourselves]
1/3 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise*
1 ½ cup jarred red peppers, drained twice and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy. Add the grated cheese and mix well. Add the mayonnaise and red bell peppers, mixing until well-combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Be sure to scrape down the sides while mixing. Chill. Serve with tortilla chips or fresh veggies. [Editor’s note: pimento cheese on a burger is a thing of great beauty. Try it. You’ll thank us!]
*There is great debate among pimento cheese aficionados concerning the proper mayonnaise to use in your pimento cheese. These experts fall into two camps: Duke’s and Hellmann’s. While Duke’s is undeniably Southern, a blind taste test among the South’s top chefs resulted in every single chef preferring Hellmann’s.