To be honest, this Recipe SWAT Team installment was an experiment gone awry — the poppers turned out great but unfortunately I'm still in pain.
Word to the wise: Unless you have the thick skin of reptile, get some kitchen gloves for this recipe! After cleaning a bunch of raw hot peppers, don't touch your face or try to take your contacts out. I thought I'd be fine just washing my hands continuously but capsaicin can sink in fast.
And once it does, none of the home remedies seem to work: butter, yogurt, antacids, lemon juice, hand santizer or tomato juice. Just good, old ibuprofen to take the pain away. (Though I hear alcohol works too.)
At the grocery store, you never really know how hot the jalapeños are going to be because of the variation in the climates they are grown in — the drier the climate, the hotter the chile. It's hard to tell within one type of pepper by looking at it, but generally the smaller the chile, the hotter it is.
Some people say that a pointy end means it's hotter; that the thinner the walls of the pepper, the hotter it is; or the more seeds it has, the hotter it is. Who knows? You may bite into it and then — pop! — that jalapeño is hot.
- 10 jalapeño peppers
- 1 cup of onions, diced
- 1 cup of tomatoes, diced
- 4 cooked bacon strips, crumbled (plus 1 tablespoon of bacon grease)
- One 8-ounce package of cream cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup shredded Cheddar or Jack
Slice the jalapeños lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (this is when you need your gloves). Arrange the halves skin side up on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler until the skins blacken and bubble, about 5-8 minutes. Put them in a covered bowl or Tupperware container so the steam can loosen the skin.
Then sauté the onions and tomatoes in the leftover bacon grease. In a bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with the onion, tomatoes, bacon and cilantro.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently remove the skin from the jalapeños (try to keep the stem intact). Place them back on the baking sheet. Fill each half with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on each. Bake for another 10 or so minutes until the cheese on top is melted (and browned in spots, as I prefer).