Jalapeño Poppers are one of my family’s favorite summer snacks. There is just not much better than a cream and bacon filled fresh jalapeño with a crunchy crust!
Every year I inevitably plant more jalapeño plants than I really need – jalapeños happen to be my favorite – therefore, I am always looking for new ways to use them. Although I use them in chillies, soups, fajitas, and frittatas, my all-time favorite way to prepare jalapeños is as a Popper. I wish I had a plate of them now!
One of the reasons that I plant so many jalapeño peppers is for their health giving properties. They reduce cholesterol aggregation, help the heart to adjust to blood pressure changes, relieve congestion and migraine related pain, prevents certain cancers and even helps you to lose weight because of its thermogenic properties. I like to dry a portion of my peppers to have them all year round, but I love them most straight off the plant in their freshest form.
After testing many many poppers in my quest for the best recipe, I have created one that excels them all. The bacon and sharp cheddar cheese in the filling add just the right amount of saltiness to balance the heat and acid of the jalapeño. The creamy filling is offset with the crunchy Panko coating giving the perfect balance of crunchy to creamy ratio. I really can’t think of a better combination. It is a real keeper and I am privileged to share it with you.
18 to 20 large jalapeños
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the jalapeño lengthwise creating a pocket for the filling. Leave the stem intact. Carefully scrape the inside of the jalapeño with a paring knife to remove the seeds.
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and the bacon. Place the mixture in a resealable storage bag and cut one corner of the bag that will allow the mixture to be easily piped into the peppers. Squeeze the mixture to the bottom of the bag and fill each pepper with the cream cheese mixture. Press the edges of the pepper back together.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cayenne, garlic powder, eggs, and buttermilk and mix until the mixture looks like the consistency of pancake batter. It needs to be thick, but if you find that it is too thick, add a little more buttermilk. Place the Panko crumbs on a third dish. One at a time, coat the jalapeño in the batter, then press the jalapeño into the Panko crumbs gently to assure that the Panko adheres the jalapeño.
Place each pepper cut side up on a cookie sheet and spoon butter on top of each pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and transfer jalapeños to a serving dish and sprinkle with a little extra salt.reheat the oven to 350 degrees F.