Update: My editor went into cardiac arrest when he spied all the missing words and lack of commas (I'm comma challenged.) After pounding on his chest he was able to croak out what needed to be fixed. My excuse? My vision was blurred with tears of longing.
Forget those stupid chicken wings. Honestly, until a smart Italian lady by the name of Teressa Bellissimo got the idea to deep fry them and soak them in hot sauce, they were most often thrown in the trash can. All anyone really wants is the hot sauce and ranch dressing. The wing is just a vehicle to get the aforementioned goodies into our mouths. I mean, really - are we going to eat hot sauce and ranch dressing with a spoon?
But stuffed jalapenos? A gift from God - and we thank Him.
There's a gazillion different ways to make stuffed jalapenos. After many years of trial and error, I've devised my very own recipe.
- First off, I don't use fresh jalapenos. Why? Glad you asked. There can be a huge difference between the "hotness" of fresh jalapenos. Even peppers from the same bush can vary quite a bit. If you get a batch of really hot peppers, it can overwhelm your stuffing and make the wimps at your party really mad. FYI: contrary to what many people think, the "hotness" factor comes more from the veins in peppers than the seeds.
- I use these.
- Most recipes call for stuffing with cream cheese. If that is all you use in your peppers they will be pretty bland. So, grate up a bunch (a bunch is a scientific measure) of sharp cheddar and mix it in the softened cream cheese. Add some mashed up roasted garlic and some parsley. I use Raskas cream cheese from Costco. A 3lb loaf costs almost nothing compared to those little bricks in the grocery store. Can't use it all? Wrap the open end tightly in plastic wrap, stick it back in its dark (cream cheese hates light) little box, and cram the wrapped end against the end of the box. It will keep for weeks and weeks.
- Slice those cute little guys down one side and scoop out the innards. If you're making lots of them, you can cut them in half but the pepper will be a bit floppy after cooking.
- Sprinkle the top with Panko crumbs. If you don't have Panko, use some regular bread crumbs. Spray the top with olive oil spray. If you don't have that, just use Pam. This isn't the Cordon Bleu Cooking School - it's a dang Super Bowl game.
- Feel free to substitute bacon crumbles for the bread crumbs. And please, NO FAKE BACON THINGYS! Capisce?
- Now go wash your hands thoroughly before rubbing your eyes or picking your nose.
- Pop in oven at 350 until they're heated through. Now listen up. When you open the oven door, stand back. I don't care how mild your peppers are, the blast of jalapeno heat emanating from the oven is going to sting your eyes.
I haven't tried bacon wrapped peppers yet. Might have to do this some time.