Friday, August 6, 2010

Pepper Poppers

Jalapeno poppers are a popular deep fried appetizer often found on chain restaurant menus. With a 1/2 inch thick greasy crust and loads of oozing hot cheese, the actual pepper taste and texture is lost. Anything filled with cheese, breaded and fried would probably taste the same. I set about trying to make my own poppers with the lovely peppers I collected last week. Jalapeno and Hungarian Hot Wax were the varieties I worked with and they made great 2-3 bite snacks. You can actually taste the flavor and firmness of the pepper! These mini chile rellenos are a bit time consuming to make, so give yourself an afternoon to try them out. They're definitely worth the effort!

First order of business is preparing the peppers. If you skin is super sensitive, wear gloves. My mom likes the kind that come in the hair color box, but if your locks are "au naturel" any clean set of dish washing gloves will do. I sliced mine lengthwise on one side only to leave them whole. The recipe calls for halving them entirely which yields twice as many poppers; your choice! Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and ribs being careful not to press too hard and squirt pepper juice. It would be difficult to continue the recipe with only one eye open. If you prefer peppier poppers, leave some of the seeds and ribs or finely dice a whole pepper and add to the cheese mixture. I skipped the bacon bits and used pepper jack cheese instead, although next time I'll include some extra sharp cheddar to boost the flavor. This recipe from is easy to follow, my notes are in blue:


12 ounces cream cheese Neufchatel has 1/3 less fat, softened
1 (8 ounce) package Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon bacon bits (optional)
12 ounces jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry bread crumbs (try fine panko for more crunch!)
2 quarts oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves. For my whole peppers I used a teaspoon to pack the cheese in and gave them a little squeeze to close.
Put the milk and flour into two separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes.

Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated. Rinse and dry your hands frequently or you'll peel off fingertip size pieces of the coating. Once in the flour and twice thru the breadcrumbs was sufficient!

In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees F ( 180 degrees C). Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel. Be careful when taking a bite, the not cheese might bite back!

1 comment:

  1. They look great!! I'm growing some ghost peppers, not sure I want to make poppers out of them though! Maybe a little too hot...