Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Bites

Just three ingredients. It's unbelievable, but that's all it takes to make one of the most sinfully delicious appetizers I've ever had. Where have these things been all my life? I am in love. Such simplicity, yet such huge, wonderful flavor. Allow me to explain.

We've been blessed with a huge amount of homegrown jalapeno peppers this summer. Andy's parents have grown them, and we pretty much get to enjoy all of them, since we're the only people on his side of the family who eat jalapenos. Some of them were harvested last weekend, and we wound up bringing about 50 of these babies home. Naturally, I thought of jalapeno poppers right away. I mean, how else was I going to use up so many of these lovelies at once? I'd never made jalapeno poppers before, but I sure wanted to try.

Then I remembered that I had seen a killer recipe on The Pioneer Woman website. I figured since she had come through for me last time I tried her dishes, I couldn't lose with these. In her version of jalapeno bites, bacon, cream cheese, and jalapeno peppers are the only components. That's it. All you have to do is halve the peppers, scoop out the seeds and membranes, then fill each half with a nice spoonful of cream cheese. Take your piece of bacon, wrap it around the pepper half, then secure with a toothpick. Arrange the peppers on a cooling rack that is sitting on a baking sheet lined with foil (to catch the bacon drippings), then bake! When they are done, you can remove them to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb some of the grease.

And then you're in for a treat. These are so tasty, so addictive, that you find yourself making a batch of them, with the intention of having some left over for another evening. Instead, you find that they all disappear quickly, leaving you wishing you had made more. Many, many more. Suddenly, the 50 jalapenos seem like, well, not enough. That's okay, though. There'll be other opportunities to make these puppies. Not that I need a good excuse to make them. "I need food" will suffice.

Here's the recipe. A quick note, though, before you proceed: I did change things up just a little. Below, I listed what I did. You can refer to the Pioneer Woman's website to see exactly what she did, but it's not that different. In an attempt to make these things just a tad healthier (which seems pointless, given the short, but greasy, ingredients list), I used low-fat cream cheese. I also sliced my bacon into fourths, while the original recipe has you slicing them into thirds. I thought I could get away with using marginally less bacon per pepper, and I was right. I would never have known the difference! Finally, I baked my poppers at a slightly higher temperature, and they were perfect after 20 minutes.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies
adapted from The Pioneer Woman's recipe
makes 32 jalapeno thingies

16 jalapeno peppers
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
8 slices bacon (original recipe used a whole pound)

1. Use latex gloves, if you have some on hand, to cut each jalapeno pepper in half. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and white membranes from inside each half.

2. Smear 1/2 Tbsp. cream cheese inside each jalapeno half. Slice each piece of bacon into fourths, then wrap one bacon fourth around each jalapeno half; secure with a toothpick.

3. Arrange the jalapeno halves on a cooling rack, then place the rack on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake the peppers at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove peppers to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yum. There are few appetizers I enjoy more than traditional jalapeno poppers (spicy AND creamy is a winning combo), but add bacon into that mix... well, I'm not sure where I can get my hands on 50 jalapenos, but you better believe I will be on the hunt now :)