November 23, 2002
Mr. Popper's Poppers
posted by Carl

Sometime I think that we should break down and get a deep fat fryer. Of course that would probably contribute greatly to the decline of our trim figures (which would be a Bad Thing). Oh well, I guess the baked hot wings will be as crispy as we're going to get with homemade. On a more upbeat note, I have mastered the technique for jalapeņo poppers! I got the idea the last time we were at our local wings and fried food place, Chicken Noodles. I watched as they made the poppers: the cook took them from a giant bag in the freezer and put them straight into the hot oil. The secret, as you may have guessed, is to freeze the assembled poppers before they go into the oil. By the time the center of the popper has defrosted and melted, there is a solid crust on the outside to prevent the cheese from seeping out. (To those of you who are not serial readers, I am referring to the previous problems we've had with 'cheese exodus' when making jalapeņo poppers.) If we do ever get a deep fat fryer, we're definitely going to have to find a source for those giant food service bags of chicken wings and jalapeņo poppers.

Jalapeņo Poppers

a good number of jalapeņo peppers
cream cheese
shredded cheese (some sort of 'Mexican Blend' is good)
seasonings (we use garlic salt and onion powder)

one egg (at least) beaten lightly
bread crumbs

enough oil to fry in

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, trying to leave a little bit of stem on each side. (The stem makes for a good handle when eating them.) Scoop out the seeds and white ribs of the peppers with a spoon. For the filling, mix equal parts cream cheese and shredded cheese then season with your seasonings to taste. How much to make depends on how many (and what size) peppers you have but you will probably need 2-3 tablespoons of filling for each pepper half. Stuff the peppers with the filling and freeze for about 30 minutes. Once the stuffed peppers are frozen, heat the oil up somewhere between 350° and 375° in a deep pot. You should only need about 3 inches of oil in the pot. Dredge all the peppers in the flour, egg, and then bread crumbs before frying. Carefully place a few peppers at a time into the oil; you don't want to crowd the pot, but you also don't want to wait forever to eat. Cook the peppers for about 2 minutes per side or until they are dark enough for your tastes. Now your peppers are poppers.