I cannot take credit for these wickedly delicious appetizers, but thought that I would show you my twist on this popular recipe. Poppers come in all shapes and sizes. Some breaded and deep fried some baked or grilled, and in my case I like them smoked.
With the Bacon this recipe can be cooked over pretty much any heat source, such as a gas grill, charcoal grill, toaster over, conventional oven or smoker. I prefer the smoker as it adds an additional layer of smoke flavor. Make sure that you use the indirect grilling method as the bacon will render and cause flareups which will scorch the outside of the viddles .
What you will need.
- Jalapenos or mini bell peppers depending on your heat preference
- Cream cheese – softened (in the box works best, it is a little firmer than the tub)
- finely diced onions or green onions
- Sliced bacon
- Tooth Picks or skewers
- Chili powder (Optional)
- Jar of seedless Raspberry Jelly or Jam
I didn’t put quantities on the ingredients as you will decide the amount of poppers you will want to make. the filling is so simple to make you can make it in small batches. If there is any leftover filling smear it on some crackers as a chef snack. 🙂
Now for the uncomfortable and awkward part of any jalapeno recipe. A word of caution for those of you that have not worked with jalapenos before, I would suggest that you use a latex or nitrile glove while handling the peppers. The oil from the jalapenos will stay on the skin and can be quite painful to the sensitive areas of the body, the eyes, nose, and other sensitive parts. Now with that out of the way we can move to the prep.
Prepers the Peppers
- Remove the stem from the the pepper.
- Slice the pepper in half down the length
- Take a small spoon and scrape the pith, membrane, and seeds out of the middle and put it aside.
Make the Filling
This is the easy part of the recipe put the softened cream cheese in a glass bowl and and add the onion. If you like onions add a lot or none at all. For an extra kick you can add a little chili powder or cayenne pepper to the cheese. You can also add a spice boost to the mixture by mashing the seeds and membrane of the peppers in a mortar and pestle and add it to the mix.
Once the mixture is blended well, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Filling and Wrapping
Remove the filling from the fridge and gather the split peppers, bacon , tooth picks or skewers. I usually cut the bacon slices in half, but it is not necessary.
With your hands or two small spoons make a small football shape with the cream cheese mixture. Place the mixture in the pepper. Wrap the pepper with a piece of the bacon and with either a toothpick or skewer stab through or skewer the pepper through the bacon piece to secure the bacon while cooking. (Tip: if you use the skewers for multiple peppers use two skewers side by side to keep them from spinning while they are on the grill). These can be made ahead of time and placed in a plastic container using parchment paper between them to keep from sticking.
This is a cool video from a friend of mine
Take one or two Jalapenos and Roast them. You can put them on a cookie sheet and broil them in the oven or with a gas grill, or you can even roast them right on the burner of a gas stove. Broil until the flesh is soft and the skin blackened. Put aside to cool.
Once the pepper(s) are cool remove the blackened skin from the pepper and finely chop the pepper. For a milder flavor remove the seeds and pith before you roast the pepper. be careful not to burn the inner flesh.
Take two heaping tablespoons of the raspberry jam and two teaspoons of water and mix it in a microwave safe bowl with the chopped pepper. Taste as you add the pepper to get it to the desired heat.
Put bowl covered in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, mix again and set aside.
Cook the Poppers
As I mentioned before it is really important to use the indirect grilling method when cooking poppers. With the bacon wrapping, fat will render causing flareups. This will cause the bacon to burn and ruin the appetizers.
To cook, Place poppers pepper side down on the preheated grill. Placing them cheese side down will cause the mixture to melt and fall out of the popper. After 10 minutes the cheese mixture will develop a skin and then they should be OK to turn. One turn should work just fine with theses so make sure that the bacon on the bottom is crisp before you turn them. Working them too much can cause them to fall apart.
Remove from grill and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. The poppers can be served warm or at room temperature with the dip that you made earlier.