Hope you’re having a good weekend, everyone. I know it’s pretty much over already but, well, that’s no reason I can’t round it off with a last minute recipe, right?
And it is very much just a spur of the moment decision. I just happened to have a few left over jalapeños to make poppers with and figured I’d share my favourite recipe.
Because many people have their own little twist on this classic but today you’re going to see mine.
You will need:
5 fresh jalapeños
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons extra mature cheddar, grated
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ smoked paprika
As you can see, I only actually had four of the chillies this time but that’s how the ratios would have worked out had I had more to work with. Do consider mixing up more cheese, though, if you have particularly large peppers.
It’s a pretty simple procedure, really, just make sure you have the right amount of grated cheddar and mush together everything but the chillies in a bowl.
The trickier part, though I’d say it’s still simple enough, is preparing those chillies. We want them to remain in one piece, yet come apart enough to let us at their insides. With that in mind, I slice them like so:
All the way from tip to stem but leaving the stalk and calyx (a fancy name for the stalk’s attachment point) in tact to hold everything together.
Then I carefully pry them open just enough to gut out all the seeds and the veins of plant placenta that attach them.
Now, with all the seeds gone, there’s room for cheese and filling your chillies isn’t anywhere near as fiddly as emptying them. All you have to do is press the cheese mix in well to make sure there are no air bubbles set to expand in the oven.
You know, since you don’t want you jalapeño poppers actually popping.
When you’re done, squeeze the two halves of each pepper together, gently but tightly enough that they stick, and wipe off any cheese that comes out the sides. You can eat that if you want.
Then they can all go into the oven at 180°c for ten to fifteen minutes, until the cheese is pretty melty and the skin is beginning to wrinkle:
They should come out somewhere in the
bracket but it’s hard to say whether they’ll be on the high or low end thereof when every batch of chillies is slightly different.
Either way though, they’re a tasty snack with a rather noticeable, but still mild, heat that combines the creaminess of a soft cheese with the firmness of thick skinned peppers. That familiar green chilli flavour with a dash of smoked red pepper and a stronger, tangier cheddar.
Not to mention the savoury cumin that I find pairs so well with milder flavoured soft cheese.
But perhaps you want a bit more texture out of them? If so you can always bread and fry them like I did my mozzarella sticks. Just make sure you score the skin of the peppers with a knife so that the coating can stick properly.
If you do bread them and you find yourself wanting a touch more heat, I find they then dip really nicely into most standard habanero sauces.
Or, for something fancier and richer, you can try covering them with either bacon or burger meat.
For the last of those suggestions, I’d recommend moving the paprika to that outer layer and for the bacon, I’d replace it with a non-smoked variety.
You’ll also find a cocktail stick necessary to pin the bacon on but I, for one, always have a tonne on hand for when I first try extract and natural record level sauces. It’s simply safer like that.
Anyway, I hope that you all enjoy this spicy little starter and I’ll see you again soon for my tuesday review.