Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Living

June 24, 2013

Plenty of Peppers: Stuffed, grilled, baked, fried...try ’em all

JACKSONVILLE — Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, but I far prefer them stuffed, to be honest.

The jalapeno pepper, a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine, can be pickled, if you like. Or fried. Or smoked, jellied, candied, muddled sauteed, served raw, grilled, stewed or diced in other foods. The medium-sized chili pepper, native to Mexico, has mild flesh and gets its heat from the capsicum in the seeds and pitch. The jalapeno can vary from having overall mild heat to red-face-gasping-grabbing-the-milk-carton kick. Much depends on the preparation and cleaning method.

Today, we're going to talk about stuffing them.

There are a few different ways to stuff a jalapeno.

The first is to slice off the stem end, clean out the seeds and pith, and stuff the pepper. The second is to slice them in half lengthwise, clean out the seeds and pitch, and stuff it. The third is more of what is known as a "popper." Stuff the pepper using either method and deep-fry it.

I'm partial to stuffing method No. 2, then grilling the pepper. It gets a smoky flavor from the grill and the filling gets all melty and yummy. Today's recipes run the gamut on stuffing methods, filling flavors and cooking techniques. You might want to consider wearing gloves when cleaning your jalapenos, because if you've ever rubbed your eye after working with this pepper, well, you'll never do it again,

No matter which route you choose (they're pretty mix-and-match), pick a pepper and pop it in your mouth for a flavor explosion.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

Serves 6 as appetizers

12 jalapeno peppers, washed

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp hot sauce

6 slices bacon, crisp and crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

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