One of my favorite bar foods has to be jalapeno poppers. A jalapeno pepper, stuffed with cheese, and either deep fried, or baked, lends itself to be packed full of flavor. Granted it has been awhile since I have bellied up at a bar to enjoy a beer, a jalapeno popper appetizer, and a game, but the thought of these morsels has not escaped me.
I love the flavor of a jalapeno pepper. It has just the right amount of heat, and you can easily transform its texture from the solid crunch you get out of it, to a soft tender pepper, in no time at all. My preference when using jalapenos is to have a nice, crisp texture, allowing for full flavor and a bit more heat. Great examples of the use of fresh jalapenos can be found on my Stuffed Jalapenos recipe as well as Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup. These poppers were not exception to that rule.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 3 slices of good bacon, cooked, and crumbled
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
- 8-12 large jalapeno peppers, cored (see below) and seeded
- 12 oz can of good, amber beer (something you would want to drink)
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- white cornmeal
- 2 cups of white cornmeal
- wax paper
- 3 cups of canola oil
You have a couple of options when coring and seeding jalapenos. You can do what I did and use an old school vegetable peeler and use the end to poke and dig around the core, using the edges to remove the insides, including all of the seeds. If you do not want to go this route, you can cut them in half, lengthwise, and remove the ribs and seeds. This is an important step as you do not want your guests biting into a jalapeno seed, getting the hiccups, and having a real fire in their mouth. Continue this process with all of the jalapeno peppers.
* Be careful not to touch any body part with your hands. The heat from the ribs and seeds will actually burn if you touch the wrong spot on your body. Wash your hands with warm water and soap, thoroughly.
In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, crumbled bacon, and sharp cheddar cheese. Next get your batter and dredging station ready. Get two bowls out and to one add the flour. Mix the seasonings into the flour. Add the beer until, close to 10 ounces until you have a really thick batter. To your other bowl add the white cornmeal.
Prepare to get messy. This part takes a bit of time, and can be fun for the kids if they are the type to want to get messy as well. The goal is to stuff the jalapenos with the cheese mixture, stuffing tightly just below the top. You can use your pinkie finger, you can use a chopstick, you can squeeze it in there. You will quickly figure out and define your own process for this. Once they are all stuffed, they will go into the batter.
Using your index finger and thumb, hold both ends of the jalapeno pepper, and mix into the beer batter. Make sure it is full coated, and let any batter drip off. Take the white breadcrumbs, and with your other hand, generously sprinkle onto the batter, making sure you coat the pepper. Place a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat this process.
Once the peppers have been coated, place the baking sheet into the freezer for about 45 minutes to one hour. This holds the batter together and ensures a nice fry.
Heat your oil to about 350 degrees. Place a few peppers at a time into the oil until they are nice and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and let any access oil drain on some paper towel, or wire rack. The batter that helped coat the pepper prevents any cheese from coming out. Pretty cool. Repeat this process. Plate and serve. The pepper is perfectly coated, with a great crunch and packed full of melted cheese and bacon. Crunch, heat, and deliciousness all around, this jalapeno popper is worth the time and effort.