Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Jalapeños

Superbowl Sunday is 2 days away!  GO PATS!  I’m going to make this post quick, but this recipe is one that I truly consider to be tested-and-true.  I’ve made these a bunch of times with minor adjustments all along the way, and I think I finally nailed it.

Really hope you guys like ’em.  Perfect for those of us who love fried jalapeño poppers.

Halved jalapeños.

Start with about 14-16 extra large jalapeños (about 3 – 4″ in length).  Wash them, dry them, and slice them in half length-wise.  I leave the stem on as an “eating handle,” but if it pops off or was without one in the first place, no trouble at all.  Or remove them if you want.

Jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed.

Now, use a regular teaspoon to remove seeds and ribs…just scrape down the inside of the pepper, but do be careful enough to keep the pepper intact.  This is a bit labor intensive, but I have to admit I find it fun.  Plus, as you get the hang of it, you’ll become faster and more efficient.

Fry up some bacon…about 7 or 8 slices.  Cook it ’til it’s at your preferred done-ness (mine is very crispy) and let it cool.  Once you can touch it without burning yourself, chop it into crumble-sized bits.

Next, throw the following in the food processor: one block of cream cheese, one block of orange cheddar cheese that has been shredded (most food processors have a grating attachment — makes it almost effortless!), 2 scallions (chopped roughly), one clove of garlic (chopped roughly), salt, and pepper.  That’s the basic filling right there, but usually I take it a few steps further with some paprika, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a little red onion.  Throw in some hot sauce too, or whatever else you like.  Many different spices/herbs would be delicious in here.  I also thought about adding some blue cheese crumbles…mmmm.

Cheesy filling!

Pulse it until it’s all combined.  You want to make sure the garlic/scallion/onion is all blended through the mixture.  It’ll be about 30 seconds of spinning.

Cheesy filling, all blended up!

Spoon the cheesy mixture into the jalapeños.  Sprinkle with the bacon crumbles and bake for about 10 minutes at 400°.

Filled jalapeños.  You can also add a little more filling so that it's slightly mounded on top; it won't spill over.

YUM!  I like to make a dipping sauce too, and at this point, assuming you have a little cheese filling left, you’re halfway there.  Take the remaining cheese filling, a good heaping scoop or two of sour cream, and the same amount of salsa, and throw all back in the food processor.  Blend it up and add a little more salt and pepper.  Done!

Sauce with a bit of chopped cilantro on top.

These, to me, are the ultimate football food.  Believe it or not, even if you’re not a spice person, you’ll be able to handle them.  I’m not sure if bigger jalapeños are less spicy, if the heat bakes it out, or if the cheese filling mutes it, but really, the only thing that will burn are your hands from touching the raw peppers.  Probably a good idea to wear gloves.

I’ve also done these vegetarian, using crushed potato chips or corn chips in place of the bacon.  Delicious, but of course, not quite the same.

Vegetarian version.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 14 – 16 extra large jalapeños
  • 8 oz. block of cream cheese
  • 8 oz. block of orange cheddar, shredded (mild/medium/sharp, up to you)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • A few heavy dashes of Worchestershire sauce
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon (or 12 regular-cut)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa, any type
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

These are best paired with good, cheap “quantity-over-quality”-type beers.  The fresh crunch of the pepper balances the creamy filling perfectly and the salty bacon is the icing on the cake, so to speak.  I love that they have that awesome, fake, processed-cheese taste and yet it’s only real cheese.  Great way to indulge without frying, too.  Of course, that’s not to say there’s a damn thing wrong with frying. 😉

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