Originally published on Eating My Share…
For some reason, I’ve been jonesing for jalapeño poppers for a couple weeks now. I couldn’t bring myself to buy frozen, processed poppers, and I’m more likely to go back to being a vegetarian than I am to stop by a fast food place (the White Castle on the corner has JPs). I had never tried making jalapeño poppers from scratch, but I figured it wasn’t too hard, just horribly time consuming. And lately I’ve had almost no time at all.
Lest you think I’ve been ignoring this blog (okay, I have, but it was intentional this time around), I’ve been super busy rebuilding my brand website, where I have all my various blogs under one roof. It’s been a goal of mine for over a year, and Hurricane Sandy provided me a good excuse to move that project to the front burner (my regular gig was pretty much shut down for a week owing to the storm, but I had both power and an Internet connection). I am also proofing my novel and working on a second one. I’m hoping 2013 will be a very successful year for me, but I need to get my infrastructure so that if success heads my way, I’m ready.
That said, I love Eating My Share and do not plan on abandoning it. I have three or four sets of photos that I need to assemble and write the respective blogs that go with them. For today, I’ll just share my popper recipe; I’m pretty satisfied how they came out. I think my only disappointment stems from never having had fresh jalapeño poppers before. It’s like the first time you eat grass-fed beef; it’s different and takes some getting used to. Without a bunch of added sodium and processed cheese (I used a little), these poppers really kept the jalapeño taste. For the most part, that was a good thing. (As often happens with mildly hot peppers, some are hotter than others!)
I started out by reading a few other recipes, and they all had one thing in common: cream cheese. I didn’t want to use cream cheese; I wanted to use Queso Fresco, which is a lot more crumbly, like a farmer’s cheese. So, this is my variation on the jalapeño popper theme. (Note, the Queso Fresco came in a 14 oz. package; as it’s not something I regularly buy, I’m only guessing that it’s sleight of hand marketing: selling less cheese at the same price. Thus, the seemingly random 7 oz. of cheese below is, in fact, 1/2 the package; you can definitely up it to 8 oz. for a 1/2 pound of cheese.)
- 4 dozen small-medium or 2 dozen medium-large jalapeño peppers
- 2 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
- 7 oz. Queso Fresco Mexican cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup salsa con queso from a jar (yes, the processed stuff, but there are organic varieties if you look for them)
- 1 cup milk/cream (any variety; I used soy)
- 1-2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups bread crumbs or substitute (I ended up grinding Special K cereal)
- 2 cups coconut oil
Cut the tops off the jalapeño peppers, slice along one side and gently remove seeds and pulp:
Mix the Queso Fresco and crumbled bacon, adding in the salsa con queso to make it sticky:
Stuff the peppers (but not overstuffed; you want to close the pepper around the cheese:
Dip in milk and the dredge in the flour; set aside to thoroughly dry:
Dip floured jalapeños into the beaten egg and roll through bread crumbs/cereal until thoroughly covered. Heat coconut oil until melted and hot enough to flash fry. (Note: You can deep fry the jalapeño poppers, but I don’t like most cooking oils that can withstand high heat and I don’t have a deep fryer. The ability to deep fry anything in coconut oil is above my paygrade.)
Place the prepared jalapeño poppers in the oil, cooking for 8 minutes (4 minutes on each side):
Put cooked poppers onto a paper towel to drain; wait a few minutes to cool before, well, popping them in your mouth!