The beauty of these incredibly popular appetizers is that they are simply delicious. (Read: simple and delicious!) By removing the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños and subjecting them to a nice roasting process, you greatly diminish the amount of heat associated with raw chiles. While they still have a little spark, with all of that bubbly cheese you may find that even the faintest of heart will be tempted! This is a basic recipe to which you can add all of your favorite touches like cilantro, aged ham, lime grilled shrimp, etc…
(Makes 12 poppers)
12 organic jalapeño chiles
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces Manchego cheese, finely grated
2 ounces gouda, finely grated (see note on cheeses)
Cut the tops off of the chiles and with a tomato corer or a paring knife scrape out the seeds and ribs. (Always use food safe gloves when working with hot chiles.) Combine the cheeses and fill each jalapeño. You can use a small spoon or a pastry bag for this. Don't overfill them as the cheese will bubble out as it cooks. (Depending on the size of the chiles you may have extra cheese to fill more.)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Stand the jalapeños upright in a jalapeño roaster set onto a baking pan.
If you don't have a specialty roaster, try this: take a "disposable" rectangular aluminum roasting pan (Very important: Don't dispose of the roasting pan afterwards. Save it for your next round of poppers!) and turn it over. For each jalapeño, cut an x about an inch wide into the aluminum. For example: 12 jalapeños, 12 x's. Set the roasting pan on a sheet pan. Push each jalapeno into its x, standing it upright.
Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling over and the chiles are starting to get tender. Let cool a bit before eating.
Note on cheeses: These are just suggestions for cheeses. If you want to mix it up, keep the cream cheese, but use your favorite firm or semi firm cheese in place of the Manchego and Gouda. Other suggestions might include white cheddar, P'tit Basque, Fontina, Monterey Jack, a touch of blue cheese, you get the picture!