Not Your Average Jalapeno Popper

A Chorizo-Cotija Jalapeno Popper

I like it spicy! My food, of course.

So it should come as no surprise that I love jalapenos. I love ’em on pizza, with salad, atop a burger or diced into my scrambled eggs.

And a jalapeno filled with cream cheese? Why, that’s right up my alley.

Up until a few years ago, I had a skewed concept of jalapeno poppers. The phrase instantly triggered visions of the poppers you find in freezers and bars – soggy breading and the inevitable scald you suffer when you bite into the popper you’ve let cool for so long that it can’t possibly still be hot inside, can it? Oh yes it can, and afflict agony it will.

But several years ago, while browsing recipes for a barbeque I would host, I ran across a jalapeno popper recipe that consisted of the jalapeno, the cream cheese, but none of the breading tainted with the faint taste of freezer burn and the sealed-in danger of an actual burn.

My concept of jalapeno poppers was altered! And I discovered other people, including my future roommate Cynthia, have always made poppers in this fashion.

This jalapeno popper receives heavy rotation in my kitchen. It even inspired my jazzed up version with new ingredients that meld perfectly with the jalapeno: chorizo and cotija cheese.

Here in San Diego, most grocery stores sell both chorizo and cotija. Chorizo is typically located in the meat section and cotija in the dairy or deli section. If you live in a place where your normal grocery store does not carry chorizo or cotija, both may be found at an ethnic or specialty market. Vegetarians: substitute the chorizo for soyrizo, found in vegetarian sections of the grocery store or at Trader Joe’s and Sprouts.

Chorizo-Cotija Jalapeno Poppers make a perfect snack while enjoying a Southwest duel, when the San Diego State Aztecs take on the Rebels at UNLV. Game begins at 4 p.m. ET. However, these poppers can complement any game this weekend!  

Chorizo-Cotija Jalapeno Poppers

By Rachel Ingersol

Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 15 minutes Yields: 10 jalapeno poppers

Ingredients:

5 jalapenos, halved and seeded

4 tablespoons Mexican chorizo, cooked, drained and crumbled

3 tablespoons cotija cheese, crumbled

3 ounces cream cheese

1/8 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet.

2) Mix together cooked chorizo, cotija, cream cheese and garlic powder. Fill each jalapeno half with the chorizo-cheese mixture. Bake for 15 minutes until filling bubbles and lightly browns.

3) Remove each jalapeno popper and place on a paper towel to cool and absorb any excess grease. Then serve immediately.

These poppers make a delish appetizer for watching college hoops.

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