As someone who spends a large proportion of her supermarketeering happily skipping up and down the party foods aisle, jalapeño poppers have long been one of my favourite snacks. How to make them even better? BACON. Natch.
So, every boy and every girl, it's time to spice up your life. Vamos.
Jalapeño and Bacon Poppers (makes 20)
You will need:
- 4 tbsp soft cheese
- 30g cheddar, grated
- 2-3 rashers of bacon, cooked in your preferred manner and to your preferred crispiness, and snipped into small pieces.
- Salt and pepper
- 10 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthways and deseeded
- 1 egg, beaten
- 50g breadcrumbs (I used Panko for optimum crunch!)
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
- In a bowl, mix the soft cheese, cheddar, bacon bits and some salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop about a teaspoon (depends on the size of your jalapeños) of the mixture into each hollowed-out chilli half, so that the cheese is slightly heaped above the rim of the pepper.
- Use two separate bowls for the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs. Dip a pepper into the egg, making sure all of it gets nice and coated, and then jiggle it around gently in the breadcrumbs. Don't worry too much about the underside of the peppers - the breadcrumbs won't stick very well there, and we don't really mind. Just make sure the top is good and covered.
- Place your completed jalapeños on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the top is turning golden brown and the cheese is gooey and delicious.
- Serve while oven-warm, tequila in hand and poncho firmly on.
- If you don't like chillies, you can substitute those lovely little sweet peppers instead. Even a regular bell pepper would do the trick, but I'd slice it into slender lengths first to make this more of a mouthful than a mountain of soft cheese!
- Instead of cheddar, try using Monterey Jack or - for added heat - Mexicana cheese. Phew! Hold on to your sombrero!