Saturday, December 29, 2012

Better Jalapeño Poppers

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Vegetarians don't need another reason to eat another absolutely scrumptious bread/cheese combo, but here goes: like pizza, grilled cheese, cheese toast, cheese and crackers, and even fondue, this spicy combo is a total winner. 

The Chubby Vegetarian version of this omnipresent bar snack, the jalapeño popper, is "better" because it's crunchier, more delicious, and un-fried, unlike its greasy predecessors. Why, they're so simple to put together that you could make 'em with one hand tied behind your back. 

So what are you waiting for? Turn on your little sports game and eat these jalapeño poppers like a sophisticated man...with a fork.

Better Jalapeño Poppers

4 large or 6 medium jalapeño peppers (halved lengthwise, seeds removed)
2 ounces neufchâtel cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 large egg (beaten)
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
Sour cream and fresh chives (to garnish)

Place the seeded, cut peppers cut-side-up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix the 
neufchâtel, cheddar, garlic, cumin, chipotle, and lime zest together until well incorporated. Divide the mixture among the peppers by stuffing them until the mixture is even with the cut. 

In a medium bowl mix the egg with the panko until well incorporated. Place the mixture atop the cheese stuffed peppers until all of the panko is used. Drizzle peppers with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until  golden brown. Garnish with sour cream and chives and serve immediately. (Makes 8 to 12 poppers.)