The jalapenos are coming! The jalapenos are coming! When I heard word of this good news from Mecca, and she started talking about jalapeno poppers, my ears perked up and my mouth started watering.
Of course, Adam and I wanted to do something different than the typical cream cheese stuffed peppers. We couldn’t just do it the “normal” way! What fun would that be?? Instead, we did a bunch of research- looking at blogs and recipes, and then we made up our own version. I’ve come to realize we have a knack for throwing a little Southern twist into dishes that harken from some completely other culture. And this time was no different. We call them Devil’s Fingers. They are red, hot, and just a little bit naughty. Baked- not fried, so you can keep that taunting fryer high up on a shelf and keep on reading.
This recipe is enough to stuff about 10 peppers. We started by slitting open 2 links of chorizo and browning the flavorful sausage in a hot pan.
While that was working, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, cut my fresh Georgia corn off the cob, cracked two eggs and added a touch of water, and beat them up.
We made fresh breadcrumbs from 2 pieces of bread- you need at least a cup of crumbs for this job. I added a teaspoon of paprika, hence the red color of our poppers, plus a teaspoon of granulated garlic, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Once I mixed the bread crumbs, I gave them a taste to be sure there was enough flavor for a bold coating. We also cut the tops off of our jalapenos, sliced them lengthwise and gutted the seeds and ribs. I recommend you wear gloves for this task- and don’t stick your finger in your eye after handling jalapenos in general. Just sayin’.
Once the edges of the chorizo were crispy, we were added our corn and cliantro and turned off the heat.
We didn’t add Adam’s pimento cheese until that mixture had cooled down a bit, because I didn’t want everything to turn all loosey-goosey before we had a chance to stuff our peppers. You can buy pimento cheese almost anywhere in the South- but Adam’s is to die for. He grates cheddar cheese, adds full fat mayo, diced pimentos, and some of the pimento juice, salt and pepper, and some sort of magic. He always does it real fast, so I can’t relay all the details to you. I think he’s a little protective of his pimento cheese, and I am all right with that. As long as he keeps making it for me!!
We added a good cup and half of the cheesy concoction, and then we mixed it well to fully incorporate the ingredients. It didn’t need any other seasoning since the chorizo has so much gusto on its own, as does the pimento cheese.
Mmmhmm. And I tasted a spoonful or two, just to make sure we were dealing with deliciousness. Check.
Next, we stuffed our pepper halves with the meat, corn, and cheese,
pressing it down with our fingers to make a snug fit. We lined a sheet pan with our Silpat Mat- a crazy non-stick baker’s tool- so we wouldn’t have any burny mess on our hands. And we began to dunk and coat.
Basically, I set the pepper in the egg and then used a spoon to bathe it with the liquid. I didn’t want to risk any fall-out. Then, I passed the slick pepper over to Adam and he used the same method to coat these buggers in breadcrumbs.
Into the oven they went, for about 25 minutes, until they were golden red and the cheese was hot and melty.
Pretty, huh? And so yummy! The sweet corn played against the heat and saltiness of the chorizo, and the pimento cheese brought character to every bite. Warning: these guys are hot! The chorizo lends fire to the already feisty peppers. You may want to serve them with a bowl of sour cream or creme fraiche mixed with a little fresh lime juice and cilantro.
We enjoyed ours with grilled Jerk-Buffalo Wings and homemade blue cheese dressing.
It was like Sports Bar Night at our house. We had a lot of fun in the kitchen creating our Devil’s Fingers. Any time I get to stuff, dunk, and bread seems pretty festive to me. And I’m a sucker for festivities!
So, if you’re looking for a new twist on an appetizer that embraces both Southern and Mexican/ Spanish roots, give these poppers a shot! Or invent your own stuffing and make up your own catchy name! Have fun with it!!
Happy cooking and eating,
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