A friend from Austin, Texas gave us Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman Cooks a few months ago and warned us that most of the recipes are not “light”, but they reflect the way a rancher’s wife cooks. I’ve only made one thing, and it certainly justifies the purchase of the cookbook for that recipe alone, which was the barbequed stuffed jalapeños. They are a-may-zing. The slow, low-temp baking results in peppers cooked through without sogginess, luscious, creamy cheese that stays in the peppers, crispy bacon that lends the right saltiness, all caramelized with a brush of barbeque sauce. Be forewarned if you take these to a party, they get eaten very quickly. Very quickly. They’re addictive, and it’s hard to stop at one or two or five or six. You get the point. Snag a few just as you serve them, otherwise you may not get any. If this is how a rancher’s wife cook, sign me up.
They are easily prepared with the most time-consuming task removing the seeds and membrane. I used low-fat cream cheese, more green onions, and homemade beer barbeque sauce that is zippier than sweet, which I canned in the fall. Ree suggests a simplification of using only cream cheese as the stuffing, but the slight tang the extra sharp cheddar adds is a nice contract to the rather bland cream cheese and the green onions add color and texture. I’m thinking they could be prepared in advance up to smearing with barbeque sauce and frozen.
Stuffed Barbequed Jalapeños
18 fresh jalapeños
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, low fat is fine
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 green onion, sliced
18 slices thin bacon, cut into half lengthwise and width-wise
Rubber gloves (or plastic bags) for working with the jalapeños
Preheat the oven to 275°
Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise, keeping the stem in tact for a nicer presentation. Remove the seeds and membranes with a spoon. For more heat, you can leave some seeds.
In a bowl combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. Mix gently. Stuff each half with the cream cheese mixture.
Wrap the bacon slices around each half, be careful not to stretch the bacon and wrap too tightly (it contracts when it cooks). Secure the jalapeños with toothpicks.
Brush the surface of the bacon with your favorite barbeque sauce. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for until the bacon is sizzling, about one hour and 15 minutes. I broiled them for a few minutes to get the bacon really crispy.
(The original recipe indicates chutney or apricot jelly works well and suggests baking on a rack, which I did not do).