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Monday, January 30, 2017

Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts

Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts
Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts
My friend Leslie from La Cocina de Leslie and I started the series She Made, Ella Hace over 5 years ago. The past couple of years, our posting has been very sporadic, but we've decided that there is no better time than the present to get back on track and start post on a regular monthly basis again - hooray! We're kicking off the year with appetizer recipes, in anticipation of the Super Bowl (can I type that out loud?) this coming weekend.

Today I'm sharing a recipe that has been in my family for as long as I can remember. We've always referred to them as "water chestnut hors d'oeuvres" or simply, water chestnuts (e.g... "who's making the water chestnuts this year?"), but I'll refer to them bacon-wrapped water chestnuts for clarification purposes.

Now, I bet most families make a very similar (if not the same) version of these. I don't know the actual origins of them, but the origins in my family probably started with my grandma. Grandma was a master recipe clipper, and I have the inherited boxes to prove it. This seems like one that may have come from the back of a package or cookbook from the '50's. And yes, it's basically a chicken liver-less version of rumaki.
Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts
I've been meaning to share this recipe for as long as I've had this blog (almost 8 years), but in our family, these seem to be a Christmas tradition. After claiming responsibility for them this year and asking me for the recipe this past December, my youngest sister said "it just isn't Christmas without water chestnuts". That means that I usually don't think about taking pictures until the tray has been ravaged...which happens almost immediately.

Sure enough, when I decided to make these in January, the kids all said that it smelled like Christmas. But the truth is, these make great appetizers year round. Toothpicks make them easy pickins while your eyes are glued to the big game, or while you're socializing at a party, or when you're too lazy to make anything else on a Friday night.

I hope you'll give these a try, and that your family and friends will love them as much as mine do. I also hope you'll pop over to see Leslie's appetizer for She Made, Ella Hace this month—this Queso Fundido de Chorizo con Nopales!
She Made, Ella Hace - the series
What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food? Well, naturally they decide to hang out in the kitchen.

Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally make a our own versions of the same dish. We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out. Other times we will pick an ingredient and see what each other make from it. Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.

yield: 50-60 bitesprint recipe
Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts

Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 1 hour and 20 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 35 mins
Crunchy water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and baked in a sticky-sweet glaze make irresistible holiday or game day appetizers.


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds regular sliced bacon (not thick-cut), see notes
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans whole water chestnuts, see notes
  • 2 cups loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (14 ounce) bottle ketchup
  • wooden toothpicks


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with a double-layer of foil. Cut the bacon in half across the center (the short way). Drain the water chestnuts.
  2. cut bacon crosswise
  3. Place a water chestnut on the end of one slice of bacon. Roll the chestnut inside of the bacon and set on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the water chestnuts are used, lining them up in 5-6 rows of 10.
  4. set a water chestnut on one end
    wrap the water chestnut in bacon
    line them up on a baking sheet
  5. Slide the baking sheet into preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes, turning the pan from front to back halfway through. While they are cooking, stir the brown sugar and ketchup together in a small bowl until you have a thick paste.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven. Using another baking sheet that is the same size (you can wrap the bottom of the sheet in foil if you want to avoid more dishes), very carefully set it on top of the tray of wrapped water chestnuts. Using pot holders, grab both sides and apply light pressure, to hold the food in, lift and tip so that the bacon grease pours out one corner into a jar/can. Once all of the grease is gone, set the tray back down and remove the top one.
  7. halfway cooked
    cover with a second sheet tray to drain grease
  8. Pour the sugar-ketchup paste evenly over the top of the water chestnuts; use the back of a spoon to rub over any exposed parts. Stick a toothpick through the center of each one. Slide back into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes longer, until bacon is cooked through and the glaze is thick and bubbling, turning sheet from front to back halfway through.
  9. pour sauce over
    add toothpicks before putting back in the oven
    hot, bubbly, and sticky out of the oven
  10. As soon as you can handle them, use the toothpicks to pick them up and transfer to a serving tray. Or do like we do and eat them straight from the pan, burning our mouth in the rush... Either way, enjoy!
  1. An 8-ounce can of water chestnuts seems to have 13-20 chestnuts in it, depending on the size. You'll need one slice of bacon for every 2 water chestnuts, which I've found usually averages out to about 1 3/4 pounds.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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