January 24, 2014

Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno poppers probably break all of the unspoken rules of eating healthy. There's cheese. There's bacon. There's crispy breading. My recipe is a little bit better because it's not fried (although I'm sure the addition of bacon kind of negates that), but doesn't eating spicy food boost your metabolism, too?

Well, these actually aren't that spicy. Cooking them helps a lot, and you have to remove all the seeds and the membrane to make room for the filling. Since that's where most of the heat is, the jalapenos really aren't too spicy any more. My sister disagrees, though, because she managed to find the one seed I missed and started running around the house looking for water. In case that happens to you, drink dairy instead of water since water only spreads the oils that make the peppers hot around your mouth. Dairy cools the burn and doesn't make it worse, so get a glass of milk instead of water if you find yourself dying over spicy foods.

To make the filling, I combine cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese (a Mexican blend or melting cheese works well too), crumbled bacon, and a drizzle of bacon fat. That gets scooped into the jalapenos, which are then dredged in flour, dipped in an egg wash, and rolled in Panko bread crumbs. I like Panko because they become extremely crispy even when just baked and not fried, which saves you a ton of calories. You can always use regular bread crumbs, but they just don't get quite as crisp. Make sure you serve the jalapeno poppers hot, because the gooey, melty cheese is the best part.

8 Jalapeños
4 Strips Bacon
4 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese
¼ Cup Flour
2 Eggs
3 T Milk
1 ⅓ Cups Panko Crumbs
2 tsp Season Salt
¼ tsp Cayenne

Heat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie tray with parchment.

Cut the jalapeños in half and remove the seeds and membrane. Cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve the fat and chop the bacon.

Combine the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, bacon, and 2 tsp bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into the jalapeños. 

Whisk the eggs and milk together. Combine the panko, season salt, and cayenne. 

Dip the jalapeños in the flour, then the egg mixture, and then the panko mixture. Place on the prepared tray and bake until golden and gooey, about 25 minutes.

Makes 16

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