Jalapeno Poppers

I'm currently curled up in a pile of blankets whilst writing this post and my dog keeps shaking the bed, looking for his idea comfy spot. And, though I'm comfortable and cozy, I'm kind of sad because I'm craving these poppers. I guess that's the main negative of food blogging. I make the food, eat the food, and then days, sometimes weeks later, I blog about it and my stomach growls as I reminisce about my meals of the past.

I made these poppers for Super Bowl Sunday. We had a lot of our usual stuff (pizza, wings, nachos) but I wanted to make a few new dishes, mostly because of some strong cravings but also so I could share them here.
Ingredients [yields 3 to 4 dozen poppers]:
12 to 15 jalapenos
4 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
¼ onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
+ oil for frying

buffalo chicken
1 shredded chicken thigh
2 tablespoons hot sauce

bacon cheddar
2 slices crumbled bacon
¼ cup grated cheddar

Start by dicing some onion and mincing garlic.
Heat a pan over medium, and in oil, and saute the onions and garlic until lightly caramelized.
In a bowl, add the cream cheese and the cooked onion and garlic. Stir to combine. This is the most basic popper filling.
Prepare the peppers by trimming the ends and stems and cut into halves or thirds (depending on the size of the pepper). Use a knife or vegetable peeler to deseed the peppers. I like these little jalapeno bites because they're literally single-bite-sized.
Chop up the trimmed ends and add them to the filling. And if you like a little more spice, add in some of the seeds and ribs.
This is a slightly spicy popper filling.
To make a buffalo chicken filling, add a shredded chicken thigh and hot sauce to the cream cheese.
For a bacon cheddar version, add crumbled bacon and grated cheddar.
Fill each jalapeno ring with the cream cheese filling.
Beat up an egg and pour breadcrumbs onto a plate. Dip the poppers in egg and then coat them in the breadcrumbs. I'm not going to lie and say it's easy to bread these little suckers. It's actually kind of annoying because the smooth skin of the peppers doesn't hold onto the breading v. well. However, the two sticky ends of the popper will certainly hold onto plenty of breading so make sure that you press lots of panko onto the cream cheesy parts.
Heat up some oil and deep fry the poppers until they're golden brown.
Drain them on a paper towel to wick away the excess oil. I love the blistered skin of the peppers. It's gorgeous and flavorful.
And then serve them up! Let them cool briefly before serving though, lest everyone end up with burnt tongues. Also, I'm not big on dipping my poppers into anything - the cream cheese filling is flavorful enough for me - but if you're a dipper, you could serve up a little blue cheese dressing with the buffalo poppers and a little ranch dressing with the bacon cheddar poppers.
The coating is crispy, the peppers are tender, the filling is salty and cheesy; this is the perfect party food.
Here's the recipe page:


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