I really like jalapeno poppers. I normally buy them in the freezer department at the store, but I thought I might take a stab at making them myself. Honestly.. how hard could it be? It really isn't very hard, and now that I've made them once, I can see me making them again and perhaps even sealing them in the food sealer and freezing for future use. I think that's a great idea!
I cut the tops off the peppers first. 8 cute little jalapeno peppers all in a row. :)
I bought ones that are as long as my finger. You could probably get away with using smaller ones if you can't find big ones.
Using a paring knife, run it in a circular fashion to cut out the pith and seeds. The pith is where the heat is. A lot of people think it's the seeds, but it's really not. If you like your peppers hotter, save the insides and chop them up to put in the cream cheese filling. These were already hot enough for me... whew. My mouth was on fire! LOL
In a mixing bowl, beat together 1 8oz package cream cheese and 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese.
Take 1 strip of bacon, cut into pieces and fry.
Remove from the pan. Let sit on paper towels for a few.
Fill the cavities of the peppers with the cream cheese mix. Having made these now, I would probably use a piping bag to fill these. It was messy and difficult getting the peppers filled all the way to the bottom.
Now you want to get three pie plates or bowls ready. In one, put some buttermilk. You could use milk, but it's awfully thin and it won't coat the peppers as well, thus leading to issues with full coverage with the breading.
Now let the peppers sit for 5 minutes to really make sure the flour is stuck on good to those jalapenos.
Re-dip the peppers in the buttermilk and then put in the bowl of plain breadcrumbs. Make sure you coat all the sides (and ends) well.
When it's all said and done you wind up with lovely coated.... fingers. Ick. It's a messy job but someone has to do it. :D
Heat a pot or wok or fry daddy of oil to 350*. I used a really long serated spoon to carefully lower each pepper into the hot oil. Fry these babies, turning over after they cook on one side for a minute or two. You want beautiful golden color all the way around the popper.
Once you feel they're done, pull from the oil and let drain on a paper towel for about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plate and serve with ranch dressing.
Chef's notes: The peppers were still pretty crunchy after they were fried. I think next time I make them, I will blanch the peppers first (blanch means to cook in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, and then pulling out and putting immediately in a bowl of ice water to "shock" the color into the veggie, and also to stop the cooking process). Did I mention these were really spicy? My poor little lips!!! And I normally like spicy food. I guess I didn't clean out the pith well enough!