Things Are Popping!

While the term “jalapeño poppers” has been used since the early 1970s in Tex-Mex cuisine, it has gained a huge following in recent years as spicy foods have become more mainstreamed.

These hollowed out jalapeños are stuffed with either cheese or meat mixtures. They are then wrapped in more meat or coated in batter or breading. And then they are deep fried until golden and crispy! Of course, you can choose to bake them, but if you’re gonna indulge just once in a while, we say go for it!

While the term is loosely used to describe other small deep-fried or spicy foods, we prefer the original and have some delicious recipes to get you started.

It’s a good idea to wear gloves when seeding jalapeños. If you touch your eyes with jalapeño residue on your hands they will hurt badly and you may never make poppers again!

Cheesy Poppers

8 fresh jalapeño peppers

3 ounces of (softened) cream cheese

2 ounces (softened) goat cheese

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons flour

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk

canola oil

1/2 cup panko crumbs

Mix cream cheese, goat cheese and cumin together to create a smooth cheese filling.

Cut off the tops of each jalapeño and use a small spoon to dig out as much of the ribs and seeds as you can. You can leave some in if you can stand the heat.

Place the cheese mixture in a piping bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Fill the peppers with the cheese mixture.

Beat together the egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the flour together with the panko in another bowl. Coat the peppers by first rolling them through the eggs and then through the panko; repeat if necessary.

In a heavy pot, heat the canola oil to 340° F. Carefully lower the peppers into the oil and fry until they are crispy and browned.

Beer Batter Jalapeño Poppers

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 red onion, diced

Salt and pepper

8–10 jalapeño peppers

1/4 cup flour

1-1/2 cups canola oil

For the beer batter:

1/2 cup beer — your favorite is fine

2 large eggs

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon canola oil

Blend the cream cheese with onion, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, keeping the stem on if possible.

Fill each half with cream cheese mix and press the filled sides together like a sandwich.

Put the 1/4 cup of flour into a small bowl. Roll each jalapeño in the flour so the surface is finely coated. Set aside.

To make the batter, separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks in a bowl and add 1 cup of flour. Add the beer and oil, and whisk until smooth. If too liquid, add a bit more flour. If too thick, add a bit more beer.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold gently into the batter.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 350°. Holding the jalapeño by the stem, dip into the batter until coated. Lightly place in the oil and fry for about 1–2 minutes on each side until nicely browned.

Place cooked jalapeños on paper towels to drain and serve immediately.

Meaty Poppers

15 jalapeño peppers

1/2 pound ground beef

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 onion, minced

15 slices pastrami or beef fry

1/2 cup barbecue sauce or duck sauce

Cut jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and white membranes. Remember, that’s where the heat is; you may leave the seeds and membrane if you want a hot pepper.

In a hot frying pan, brown ground beef, garlic and onion. Cool slightly.

Spoon meat mixture into jalapeño halves and bring together 2 halves. Wrap each pepper in a strip of pastrami or beef fry. Place on a lined sheet pan.

Preheat broiler or grill pan.

Brush jalapeños generously with barbecue sauce and broil or grill 5–6 minutes, turning to brown each side.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.