Way before we had children, my husband and I shared a two-bedroom apartment with them for one year during my last year in college. It was a perfect apartment for two couples. Mari and I often cooked together for dinner when were both home. Sometimes she’d cook for all of us if I had too much homework, or I would cook if she was working overtime that day. We grew closer that year, and I even learned a few cooking tips from her that I still use to this day.
A year later, we moved on our separate ways as couples but continued to keep in touch. One day, they invited us over to their apartment for a barbecue dinner. We arrived shortly after Juan started grilling the food, so I had no idea what they were serving and didn’t bother to ask because I suspected it was the usual carne asada, chicken, and maybe hot dogs. Mari and I sat on the couch as our little girls played (this was before I had baby #2). We talked, caught up on life as new Mamas, waited for the food, and just hung out like old times.
In the middle of our chatting, Juan came in from outside holding a plate filled with bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers. They were practically sizzling still! Before placing them on the serving table, he offered one to Mari and then to myself. I hesitated at first because the thought of eating an entire jalapeño was crazy to me. My mouth would be on fire! He instantly saw my hesitation and said, “dude, you have to try them at least once!” Mari was next to him saying “Steph, they are so good!” “Just try one!”
My first thought was I needed to have a drink in my hand to wash it down in case it was too spicy. Then I asked, “What’s in them?” Their answer: philly cheese. That’s it. “Ok,” I said. I figured the philly cheese spread should counteract the spice from the jalapeño, so why not?
With juice in one hand, my jalapeño popper in the other, I took a small bite…and then another…and another, until I finished it. Today if you were to ask me what else we ate that day, I wouldn’t be able to tell you because all I remember was how friggin’ good those bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers were. So now whenever they offer me one, I say “heck yeah I want one!”
Today I’m sharing my twist on the jalapeño popper.
Here’s what you will need:
The picture shows 5 jalapeños, but you most likely won’t need that many because the amount of filling is perfect for 4 unless your jalapeños are on the smaller side. If that’s the case, you might need 5. So have an extra one on hand just in case. You can always use it in a salsa or something if you don’t use it.
Use toothpicks to keep the bacon ends to stay down. If some of the bacon slices don’t completely wrap around the jalapeño and filling, use small square pieces of foil paper to wrap them in. Put them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
Once it reaches 350, place them on the grill over indirect heat, and cook for 15 minutes covered. Flip them over and cook the other side of the jalapeños for another 15 minutes covered. Try to keep the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermostat, just make sure to keep them off direct heat. You want them to cook low and slow.
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers with Feta, Corn, and Cilantro
- 4-5 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 4 slices peppered bacon, cut in half
- In a small bowl, combine the frozen corn, minced cilantro, and crumbled feta cheese. Set it aside.
- Using a small spoon, slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise through the stem and scoop out all the seeds and ribs. If you want them spicy, leave some of the seeds in there. Cut the bacon slices in half to make two shorter slices. Fill each jalapeño half with the feta, corn, and cilantro filling. Wrap them tight with the bacon. Use toothpicks to keep the bacon ends to stay down. If some of the bacon slices don’t completely wrap around the jalapeño and filling, use small square pieces of foil paper to wrap them in. Put them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
- Turn on your barbecue pit and bring the temperature to 350 degrees. Make sure your grill is cleaned prior to turning it on!
- Once it reaches 350, place them on the grill over indirect heat, and cook for 15 minutes covered. Flip them over and cook the other side of the jalapeños for another 15 minutes covered. Try to keep the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermostat, just make sure to keep them off direct heat. You want them to cook them low and slow.
- When the bacon is cooked through, remove them from the grill and remove the toothpicks when they are cool enough to handle. Top with a little bit more crumbled feta cheese, chopped cilantro leaves, and crema Mexicana.