Easy, cheesy, stuffed and smoked jalapenos
This year I promised myself that I would grill more vegetables. I have been holding up to that promise and in the mean time, I have been researching and figuring out more ways to have fun and bring some flair into grilling healthier foods.
This is not one of those recipes.
But fear not, it is delicious and I couldn’t help sharing because they are that good. These are the almighty jalapeno peppers, stuffed with cheese and meat. What I did was take a spin on a classic recipe to make them somewhat waistline friendly. (wink-wink)
I recently received this sweet little gadget as a gift, and got right into action using it. It is a pepper holder that came with a great little corer for the dirty work. This neat little trinket is about fifteen bucks. (rack and corer) SEE HERE
If you don’t have the use for it, you can still McGyver up some tin foil apparatus or some other rigging contraption. I have only done whole jalapenos in this rack, otherwise I split them down the middle and layer the filling on, instead of stuffing them. Which is not as cool; and harder to eat as a tapas style hors d’oeuvres.
On to the prep.
This will hold thirty six peppers, and of course they don’t have to be jalapenos…you can use what ever kind you can fit, or fits your taste. So be sure to test out you peppers first, so you know the heat level you’re dealing with. Because not all peppers are the same in this size range and can differ greatly in heat levels.(also learned that the hard way)
Wash and clean your peppers in a pot or colander and let dry on some paper towels. Then get ready for some work, because this is going require some patience and space…you may make a mess. I would suggest having the following things on hand for this fun little project:
small paring knife
two small refuge bags (grocery size)
gallon zip top plastic storage bag
latex or similar style work gloves
Ok, I hope I didn’t scare you off with that list. Several of those things are optional, but safety is at a premium. Just good to know that you can facilitate this crowd pleaser dish without accidently getting hot pepper juice in your eye.
Cut tops off peppers and use the corer to get out all the spines and seeds, while maintaining a sturdy pepper vessel. Place all those inerts to your refuge bags and compost or discard. Place hulled peppers into rack. You can know ditch your protective gear and wash your hands vigorously. You’ll either thank me or damn me based upon you accidently rubbing your eyes.
This would be a good time to fire up that grill and set it up for indirect heat. I have used both a smoker and Weber kettle for these peppers and both came out awesome. If you are using a gas grill, no problem. just work your grill on indirect heat and use one smoke pouch of wood chips if you want that extra smoky flavor. Ether way, have your temperature in the two hundred seventy five to three hundred twenty five range. (degrees Fahrenheit) *Just so you folks know, I used cherry wood soaked in apple juice to enhance the flavor*
Next soften one package cream cheese. Then grate four ounces of smoked Gouda cheese. Set aside.
You want to then fry up a half pound of ground turkey. Stir repeatedly and brown. Sprinkle a bit of you favorite barbecue spice just as it is finishing up. Drain on some paper towels and back into pan. Add your softened cream cheese and Gouda to the turkey on a very low heat just to melt everything together and mix together with a wooden spoon. Let cool a bit.
Transfer that into a zip top plastic bag. Or if you’re fancy enough, a piping bag. Cut a small slit on the bottom corner of the bag, just enough to squeeze the cheese out in small controllable amounts. Fill your peppers to the brim.
If you had enough patience to trim and save the pepper tops after de-seeding them, cap them off for the pro-touch look.
Grill or smoke for forty five minutes to just over an hour. You’ll see the peppers change color and get some wrinkles on them…that means they are done. We don’t want them droopy because we want to eat them like a jalapeno popper.
Mix and match your favorite cheeses and peppers or go meat-less and get creative with this recipe because its fun, adaptable and delicious.
Caution, it may also be spicy but I think that’s what we are going for here!
ps. of course you can do these in an oven…but no one stares at an oven for an hour, drink beers and has good conversation