Jalapeño poppers are great little fingerfood hors d'oeuvres. You can buy similar Jalapeño poppers at the grocery store - they are breaded peppers with filling similar to these, and are also good - but homemade is better! This is a bacon-wrapped variant, which is best grilled, not fried, but can be cooked on the broil setting in an oven.
The poppers go with all types of meals - but are best with southwestern or Mexican food, fish dishes, beef or chicken fajitas, or steak. They are also a great snack for playing cards or watching movies with friends.
- Preparing the peppers - Slice the top of each pepper off, cut the pepper in half lengthwise, and using a small spoon, scrape the seeds and loose pulp out of each pepper. (If you are going to use a broiler to cook the poppers, roast the pepper halves to partially cook them before filling them.)
- Fill each pepper half with cream cheese level with the edges - just like you would celery. (Option one: mix the cream cheese and grated cheddar together and fill with the mixture)
- Cut the bacon to half-length. Wrap the strips around the pepper halves, covering the cream cheese and stick a toothpick through it.
Place the poppers on a medium-hot grill (or under the broiler), and cook them until the bacon is cooked (not crisp, just done). Watch carefully for flareups from the bacon grease. Take them off the grill and serve them hot - do NOT eat the toothpicks! (Option two: sprinkle grated cheese over the cooked poppers.)
I strongly recommend wearing gloves while cleaning the peppers. This prevents the capsaicin in the juice from burning your hands - especially small cuts and scrapes, and it also reminds you not to rub your eyes - which in itself is a horrible mistake! Some people refrigerate the poppers before cooking, dip them in beaten egg and bread crumbs, and deep fry them - this is good too.
One thing that really makes the poppers fun is getting a little sloppy cleaning every third or fourth pepper. This leaves a few hot peppers in the batch and makes eating them a pleasure and an adventure!
This recipe is an original creation by Matt Mitchell of Austin, Texas