With a straight face, I will call this a heavy appetizer. I laugh because that means that I consider the version which is merely stuffed with cheese to be “light.” Wouldn’t you agree? A few of these and a beer will put off the hungriest guest for a little longer while you wait for the brisket to get out of the smoker. It could be a while.
These are ideally suited for outdoor cooking, but I cooked them indoors while I had steaks on the grill. But feel free to modify this recipe for the grill.
This recipe is great with leftover chicken. However you come by it, you will need a cup of chopped chicken for a dozen of these (half) peppers. But if you are a planner, and find tenders on sale for instance, you could poach several pounds of chicken, chop it and store it in the freezer to make chicken spaghetti, chicken tetrazzini (the other chicken spaghetti), or hoisin chicken wraps. You could use this spicy bite as an excuse to make a whole week of chicken dishes, for which you have already done all the dirty work. Not a bad plan. For a recipe where I give a method of poaching for tenders, see this Individual Chicken Pot Pie post. An alternative method is to heat the poaching liquid with the chicken tenders in it to 180 degrees, place a lid on the pot, turn off the heat and simply let it cool on the stove top. Just check to make sure the chicken has cooked through before using it. This is a Cook’s Illustrated method that I have been toying with lately.
Once you have the chicken cooked, the execution of this recipe is relatively simple. Halve jalapeños lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a spoon. Mix the chicken with a bit of goat cheese and cream cheese and season it with salt and pepper. Stuff the chicken into the peppers and top each with a little slice of cheddar. Wrap each pepper with a half of a slice of bacon…secure with a toothpick…cook…done. You don’t even need a recipe, but I will give you one anyway.
Recipe for Three Cheese Chicken Stuffed Jalapenos (yield: 12 servings)
Bacon wrapped jalapenos are a rather simple, spicy, and delicious heavy appetizer. A hint of goat cheese makes them distinctive.
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 12 strips
6 large jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
6 slices of bacon, cut in half
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and membranes from the pepper halves. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the softened goat cheese, softened cream cheese, and the finely chopped or shredded chicken. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cut 6 slices of bacon in half.
5. Stuff each pepper half with the chicken mixture. Lay a slice of cheddar cheese on top of the chicken on each pepper half. Wrap each pepper half with a piece of bacon and secure the bacon by piercing the pepper with a toothpick.
6. Place a cooling rack or other wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking pan. Place the peppers on the wire rack. Bake for 25 minutes. If the bacon is not browned sufficiently at this point, cook the peppers under the broiler for one to two minutes, being very careful to not allow them to burn. Serve with buttermilk ranch dressing.