A while back we published a post by Michael Hultquist on the Burn! Blog, who wrote about cooking with superhot chiles. A full-throttle chilehead, Michael runs the Chili Pepper Madness and Jalapeno Madness websites. He’s written a few books too, which you can buy on his sites. Jalapeño Madness: Jalapeño Recipes Galore includes 250 recipes featuring…wait for it…jalapeño peppers. There’s a second edition that just came out as well. They’re available as hard copy or as instant download pdfs.
The book that really caught my interest was called Jalapeño Poppers and Other Stuffed Chili Peppers, which I checked out as an Ebook. My experience with poppers up to now has been limited to the cream-cheesy, deep-fried goodies available at restaurants. Hultquist’s book takes poppers to an entirely new level of obsession, and he showcases jalapeño chiles in nearly every way imaginable. I was sort of reminded of that discussion about shrimp between Forrest Gump and Bubba, who said, “Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” Substitute “popper” for “shrimp” and you get the idea.
In addition to “classic” popper recipes, Hultquist delves into variations on the theme, including armadillo eggs, rellenos, fireballs, and other stuffed chiles. He also includes good chile cooking tips, batter alternatives, and the like. I suppose given enough time, anyone could come up with a gazillion stuffings to mash inside a jalapeño pod, but why reinvent the popper when this cookbook has already done it for you? Here are a few of Michael’s tasty recipes.
Habanero-Banana Chutney Jalapeño Poppers
Habanero peppers and chutney, you say? Absolutely. Both offer a distinct flavor and in combination they are a wonderful stuffing for a jalapeño pepper. Make extra chutney to serve over the top of the poppers as well. Both sweet and hot.
• FOR THE POPPERS
• 10 jalapeño peppers
• 1-1/2 cup flour
• 1/2 cup beer
• Oil for frying
• 2 Eggs, separated
• FOR THE HABANERO-BANANA CHUTNEY
• 2 ripe bananas, peeled and diced
• 1 habanero pepper, chopped
• 2 tablespoons onion, minced
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
• Chili powder to taste
1. FOR THE HABANERO-BANANA CHUTNEY: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients
2. Stir to combine.
3. FOR THE POPPERS: Roast the jalapeño peppers over an open flame, or use your oven broiler, until skins are blackened on each side. Over flame, it should only take about 5 minutes. In the broiler, it could take 10 or more minutes.
4. Remove jalapeño peppers and transfer to a plastic bag, and seal them up to let the skins loosen. Allow to cool.
5. Once cooled, peel off the blackened skins.
6. Slice open each jalapeño pepper lengthwise with one long slit, then remove the innards with a knife or spoon.
7. Stuff each pepper with the prepared Habanero-Banana Chutney.
8. Prepare your egg wash by beating the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold in the egg yolks and add to a bowl.
9. Prepare your batter in a separate bowl by combining 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup beer.
10. Pour oil into a pan, about 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep, in order to cover half the stuffed peppers when you drop them in.
11. In one more bowl, add 1 cup dry flour.
12. Dip each pepper into the dry flour to coat each side. Then, dip into the egg mixture, then into the batter to coat completely.
13. Fry each pepper about 3-4 minutes each side, or until they are a golden brown.
14. Drain excess oil and serve with the Habanero-Banana Chutney.
Classic Grilled Jalapeño Poppers
This is one of the most popular methods for preparing jalapeño poppers: stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled. We figured we’d start with the classics.
• 10 jalapeño peppers
• 10 ounces cream cheese
• 10 slices bacon, chopped
• 10 toothpicks, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1. Remove stems from the jalapeno peppers and remove innards through the top with a pepper corer. If you do not have a corer, use a knife or very thin spoon.
2. Squeeze cream cheese into each of the jalapeño peppers.
3. Wrap bacon around each jalapeño popper and secure it with a toothpick.
4. Preheat grill to medium heat and grill the poppers for 20-30 minutes, flipping occasionally, until bacon is nice and crisp.
Goat Cheese and Romano Stuffed Poblanos
This recipe is on the milder side of spicy, but is filled with strong flavor blasts from the combination of goat cheese and the Romano cheese. The roasted almonds and basil bring a bit of a pesto flair, but the cheese here is the true focus – perfect for poblano peppers.
• 2 large poblano peppers
• 3 ounces goat cheese
• 5 ounces Romano cheese, grated
• 2 ounces almonds
• 8 large basil leaves, chopped
• Olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove stems and seeds from poblano peppers. Slice them in half lengthwise and set them into a lightly oiled baking dish.
3. Heat a sauté pan to medium heat and add almonds with a splash of olive oil. Roast about 5 minutes, or until nuts begin to brown.
4. Transfer almonds to a food processor with basil leaves. Process until chunky. Allow to cool.
5. Transfer almond-basil mixture to a mixing bowl with goat cheese and Romano cheese. Mix well.
6. Heap your stuffing mixture into each poblano pepper half. Distribute evenly.
7. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until poblanos are softened.
Chocolate Covered, Peanut Butter Filled Jalapeños
(or, Jalapeño Happiness Dessert)
OK, this was a FUN experiment. We knew we’d like it, but Jalapeño Miss REALLY loved this one. It is very sweet and tasty with a bit of the jalapeño heat, though not as much as normal because the insides are removed. It’s reminiscent of Bumps on a Log, but infinitely better. Note that these are extremely easy to prepare. If you’re in a pinch and you need to whip up some fun desserts for your guests, this recipe is for you.
• 4 jalapeño peppers
• 4 ounces peanut butter
• 1 cup milk chocolate chips
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon milk
• 1 teaspoon chili powder (or three)
1. Core the jalapeño peppers by cutting off the stems and hollowing out the insides.
2. Stuff each jalapeño with 1 ounce of peanut butter. Amount of peanut butter you can fit will vary per pepper.
3. Heat a small pot to medium heat. Add chocolate chips, sugar, milk and chili powder. Stir until chocolate melts and combines with other ingredients.
4. Set stuffed jalapeño peppers on a plate and drizzle chocolate over them until they are thickly coated.
5. Allow to cool and serve!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE POPPER RECIPE? SEND IT TO US AND WE’LL PUT YOUR NAME INTO A DRAWING FOR FREE STUFF!