The Plainsman's Kitchen: Jalapeno poppers

Jalapeno Poppers - Thomas Murphy

Football has finally returned, and with it, the Plainsman's Kitchen. Turn up the heat in the kitchen with these tasty treats.

Jared and Murphy are the resident gym rats of the College and Mag crew. If you need a recommendation on what protein shake to chug or the proper way to do a shoulder burn out, these are the guys to ask. Imagine my surprise when Jared passed along a recipe for an insanely decadent "cheat day" side. Imagine my sheer delight when Murphy tested the recipe with the homegrown emerald beauties my brother has grown all summer.

Now it is your turn to "cheat like a Barner." PAWWWL. I told you them Barners were cheaters ...

Jalapeno poppers

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
12-15 jalapenos, halved and de-seeded
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 quarts peanut oil

Directions

Mix the cream cheese, cheddar and bacon crumbles in a medium sized bowl. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno halves. Each half makes one popper.

Put the milk and the flour in two separate bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos in the milk first and then in the flour. Be sure to coat them thoroughly. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry, about 10 minutes or so.

Dip the coated jalapenos in the milk again and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Allow the breadcrumbed jalapenos to dry, again, about 10 minutes or so. Repeat the process of dipping the coated jalapenos in the milk and then rolling them in the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius, if you're into that). Deep fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes each. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

Notes

We are partial to Whole Foods low-fat cream cheese, Tillamook sharp cheddar and Benton's hickory smoked country bacon. If you cannot find Benton's, use the smokiest bacon you can get your hands on.

I usually handle prep in the kitchen. I enjoy the monotony of it all. If your peppers still have the stems on them, gently twist them off. I used my obnoxious Japanese chef's knife (wa-gyoto) to cut them in half and then switched to a paring knife for the tedious work of deseeding. A little Motown helps things move along.

Spend the $1.08 or so to pick up a pack of disposable gloves to wear while working with the jalapenos.

We have used buttermilk in place of the milk (just to finish off a carton) and the poppers were quite tasty.

The first time we made these, we used 12 ounces of cream cheese and had enough filling leftover. Murphy formed them into balls and dunked them just like the peppers - milk, flour, milk, breadcrumbs, milk, breadcrumbs. Eight ounces gives a better ratio of cream cheese to cheddar and bacon, but if the appeal of fried cheese balls is too much, then go for 12 ounces.

These are best fresh, but if you are lucky enough to have any leftover for later, they are divine with a bit of white BBQ sauce. Go on, cheat like a Barner. #wardamn

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