One-Eyed Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
Jalapeño Poppers are great appetizers. While standard restaurant jalapeño poppers are usually breaded and fried, my outdoor version is grilled and much more flavorful. This appetizer is a big hit with people who like a little bit of heat in their food, but you can remove most of the heat to accommodate wimps if you wish.
There are many variations on grilled jalapeño poppers. Most call for wrapping the halved jalapeños with bacon and holding it in place with toothpicks. That's too much of a pain for me, and the dripping grease can put all kinds of soot on things. So I just put the bacon in the filling. Another problem with most recipes I've seen is that the cheese melts and oozes out. I've solved the problem by using a pimento-stuffed olive as a plug. Hence the name "One-Eyed Jalapeño Poppers". The olive is not only functional, it tastes great.
Jalapeños are chile peppers with a measurable amount of heat, but they are not too hot for most folks. The cool part (pun intended) is that the best way to extinguish capsaicin heat is with cooking and dairy fat. Cooking somehow disarms jalapeños, and the cheese in this recipe not only tastes good, it also helps control the fire. If you remove the seeds and ribs, you can remove 90% of the heat if you wish, and the flavor is wonderful. They are great with cold beer.
Makes. 24 pepper halves
Option. Cook 6 strips of bacon until crisp. Let it cool, crumble it into small bits, and mix it into the stuffing. Or try a little leftover pulled pork in the mix. Or go upscale and mix some crab meat into the stuffing.
Option. Try replacing the cheddar with blue cheese, mozzarella, jack, queso quesadilla, or queso asadero.
Option. If you like things really hot, use habanero peppers.
2) Put on kitchen gloves to work on the peppers. With a thin sharp filleting or paring knife, cut the stems off and discard them. Then cut them in half lengthwise. Run the blade along the inside wall of the pepper removing the seeds and the white ribs. If you like hot stuff, leave the ribs in.
3) Spread the cheese mix into the peppers, but not so much that it will overflow when cooking. Put an olive at the stem end, to act like a plug and help keep the cheese in when it melts. Sprinkle the paprika on top.
Option. You don't have to cut them in half. You can just cut off the ends and remove the innards with a potato peeler and stuff the whole pepper. The olive in the end will keep the cheese inside.
4) Fire up the grill and cook over a low heat or indirectly until the the cheese melts and the pepper bottoms get a little brown. Try not to let the peppers go limp, they're better with a little crunch. Remove gently and let them cool a bit before serving. They are also fine at room temp or right out of the fridge. Make sure you have plenty of cold beer on hand.
Option. Try smoking them at about 225°F for 30 minutes.
This page modified 8/5/2007
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