Thursday, September 5, 2013

Grilled Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

When I made these many years ago for a party, I almost killed people.  I didn't clean out the pith and seeds thoroughly before stuffing them, just got the big chunk out of the way to make room for the chorizo and cheese.  Now I like hot food, but they were almost inedible.  I used to have a good selection of hot sauces like Dave's Insanity, the kind you stick a toothpick in and use the smallest amount possible- the tiny jar lasts years.  Then there was one time in the lab where another chemist decided to blend habaneros with ethanol and distill it several times to extract the pure capsaicin oil....in a fume hood, safety first.  That would have placed quite high on the Scoville chart.  If you ever find your mouth on fire don't reach for your beer or even water, that will just spread the heat around your mouth and make it worse.  A better option is dairy- milk, sour cream, yogurt.  Casein is a protein in dairy that will bind with the capsaicin oil and get it out of your mouth.  The best option has been scientifically proven as the quickest way to cool off your burning taste buds-rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide- don't swallow, of course.

 An important lesson was learned that evening- trying out new recipes for a party can be risky.  It might pay off and everyone raves about how delicious it is and you've got a great new dish, or you might injure people and they are afraid to put a utensil near anything you ever make again.

Sort of like beer-can chicken, jalapeno poppers certainly aren't pushing the culinary envelope.  They are damn tasty though, and if prepared properly only mildly spicy.  The trick of course is to ensure you scrape out the pith and seeds with a paring knife.  The grilling rack I bought for $10 at Menards came with a double-sided serrated knife that is perfect for the task, but a small paring knife does the job too.  The pith, or white part, has the most capsaicin which contains the heat, the seeds have some and the actual flesh of the vegetable has the least, so that's the part you want to eat.  But first let's stuff it with cheese and sausage.

You can find Mexican chorizo loose or in encased sausage form.  If the latter, simply squeeze out of the casing and break up while browning with a wooden spoon.

The amount below will yield enough for about 15 medium to large jalapenos, I only had a dozen and had some leftover sausage cheese mixture which turned into a tasty breakfast with some eggs scrambled in.  You might have the same 'problem' depending on pepper quantity and size.  Just in time for Sunday football appetizer season!  

Grilled Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

12 jalapeno peppers, washed, tops cut off, cored and seeded thoroughly
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
4 oz pepper jack, shredded or small dice
3/4 C Mexican chorizo sausage
4 green onion, green parts only, sliced thin

Cook the chorizo in a small skillet over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, stirring often until cooked through and the fat is rendered.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the cheeses and scallion.  Toss in the sausage and mix well.  Using your fingers, stuff each pepper well- cram the mix in there with your finger.  Fill just to the top and place on a popper rack, on a rib rack, or some other modified piece of grill-proof metal if you want to MacGyver it. 

Fire up the grill for medium direct heat.  Grill for about 10 minutes, until nice and bubbly and lightly browned.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes before enjoying. 


A simple recipe post such as this deserves a more serious contemplation on food and food writing, from one of the best. 





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