One of the many ingredients abundant in summer are peppers. Especially the jalapeños that seem to be 10 times their normal size. They certainly could give the poblano pepper some competition during the summer. Since I have been grilling more recipes on my outdoor grill, I always try to plan ahead a little and grill a few things for future recipes. After grilling some shrimp for a different recipe, I decided to grill a few of the oversized jalapeños I had picked up at the farmer’s market. They keep for 5 to 6 days in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. When I saw the 8 jumbo shrimp I had left over, I knew I had to incorporate them into some poppers.
Yields up to 8 servings
12 extra-large jalapeño peppers, grilled or roasted
4 strips thick-cut bacon
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Mexican chorizo
1 cup previously grilled or sauteed shrimp, chopped
Tips~I had 8 jumbo shrimp that was simply seasoned with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and Cayenne pepper, then grilled for 3 minutes per side on the outdoor grill that was brushed with oil.
1 cup shredded cheese (note: I used Chihuahua cheese, which is very similar to jack cheese)
Tips~ I would suggest cooking all of your ingredients ahead of time and letting them cool completely before assembling the poppers. The Chihuahua cheese I purchased was already shredded and I stored it in the freezer. To defrost it, pour it out onto a plate and let it defrost, uncovered, at room temperature.
1. Grill or roast the peppers for 20 minutes, or just until peppers are cooked through, but still firm. Set aside to cool.
2. Cook the bacon at medium/low heat until crispy. I like to cook it at that temperature so it slowly releases the grease and cooks more evenly. Remove from pan and let cool and then chop finely.
3. In that same pan, add the onions and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Add the Mexican chorizo and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes, breaking down the chorizo as it cooks. If there is too much grease in the pan, I drain the mixture onto a plate lined with paper towels. It’s much easier to work with a filling that is not too wet.
4. Slice the jalapeños in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins. In a bowl, combine the chorizo mixture, bacon, shrimp and shredded cheese. Fill all of the jalapeños. I find it easier to just use my hands to fill and press the filling in gently. Chill the stuffed poppers for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake the poppers for 10 to 12 minutes, then for 1 to 2 minutes under the broiler. Garnish with your favorite salsa.
Tips~ Don’t add any ingredients that have too much liquid or oil. I drain my chorizo and onion mixture onto a paper towel after I cook it to remove excess oil.
Tips~ You could use fresh, uncooked peppers as well, but I prefer the flavor of the roasted or grilled peppers for my poppers. Grill them ahead of time and store for up to 4 days before.