While most people buy those unique varieties and the more common Medjool date for snacking, Sphinx Date Co. co-owner Rebecca Seitz says she also gets questions about how to use the palm fruits in cooking or baking.
“We offer recipe cards for dates that are both sweet and savory, as well as snack ideas,” Seitz says, noting that she is also working to build an online recipe library. “You really can use any variety of date for those types of recipes.”
For a comforting taste of fall, Seitz shared a recipe developed with Christopher Creek Spice Co., a Phoenix-based purveyor whose name nods to the area in the Mogollon Rim where the owner's family owns a cabin. Through this recipe, learn how to infuse the sweetness and richness of dates into a classic comforting bowl of chili.
While the recipe calls for Medjool dates, Seitz says that any variety of dates can be substituted. If using a softer, juicier date, the liquid may need to be adjusted down.
Ingredients1⁄2 to 1 pound Medjool dates*, chopped and pitted
1 12-ounce pale ale beer (optional)
2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can chicken broth
1 package of Christopher Creek Spice Co. Cabin Chili Mix or another chili seasoning blend
2 whole cinnamon sticks
Hot sauce (optional)
Directions:1. Add Medjool dates and either beer or 1 1⁄2 cups water to a medium saucepan. *Use 1⁄2 pound Medjool dates for a less sweet chili. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes.
2. Add mixture to blender and purée until smooth. Add water if the mixture is too thick to purée.
3. In a large skillet, brown meat and drain the fat.
4. Add Medjool date mixture and canned goods (garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth). Do not drain.
5. Add chili spice pack and mix well. Add whole cinnamon sticks.
6. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Stir often.
7. Reduce heat to medium-high and continue cooking, uncovered, stirring often for 30 minutes.
8. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Add hot sauce to taste and serve.