Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Devils on Horseback

WHEW! What a day! Midterm grades are due, and of course, I should have had them done before we left for spring break, and of course, I didn't do it! So I was in my office until 11pm getting them finished up--such was my penance. :-( When I finally got home, I was rummaging around the fridge for something to munch on in lieu of a proper dinner, and I found a container with a few leftover "Devils on Horseback" waiting just for me. You ate, WHAT, you ask? Well, let me back up a bit...

When I moved into the new house, I had the unenviable chore of cleaning out the refrigerator at the old place. And I discovered that most of the space in that fridge was taken up by little almost-empty jars of homemade jams, jellies, relishes, and chutneys. The new house has a smaller fridge, so I have made a vow to be more faithful in using up the things I make and the jars I open. At the end of January, the first preserve that I made in my new house was a very nice golden mango chutney, and the remainder of that batch was still hanging out in a container in the back of the fridge. I eventually decided what to do with it when I was watching "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network, and one of the chefs recommended the devilled eggs and "Devils on Horseback" at The Spotted Pig, a pub in NYC. I was intrigued enough to do a little follow-up, and apparently, Devils on Horseback are a less genteel spin-off of a British hors d'oeuvre called Angels on Horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon), both of which are cousins of the better-known Pigs in a Blanket. (Sidebar: Don't we just love the British, with their propensity for foods with quirky yet charming names like Toad in the Hole?!)

To redirect, Devils on Horseback are dates (or more commonly, prunes), sliced open, filled with mango chutney, wrapped in bacon (half a slice is perfect), and baked until crispy. Alternately, you can stuff the dates with your favorite soft cheese, wrap, bake, and then serve with mango chutney or pepper jelly for dipping. I think I'll try that version next time, as I bought a whole big tub o' dates at Sam's Club and have plenty of the tasty little devils (or are they the horses?) with which to experiment. However you choose to make them, they are an easy and delicious appetizer, they can be made ahead and reheated for a party, and they are a great way to us up some of those chutneys or savory jellies that may be taking up too much space in your fridge.

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