It’s almost football season, which means that the fried food quotient in our diet is about to increase exponentially. And while we can’t resist a crispy, hot sauce-soaked wing while cheering on our team, sometimes we crave a break from the grease. And that’s where this recipe comes in.
These jalapeño poppers break with convention in that they skip the breading and the oil in favor of a quick roast in the oven. But trust us, they are no less delicious than their dredged siblings: stuffed with a three cheese and sausage filling, each bite is ridiculously gluttonous. Plus, this method allows the flavor of the peppers to shine through.
Our advice: make extra filling and freeze it, so that these snacks are never more than a few minutes of kitchen time away.
Makes 30 poppers
- 8 ounces country sausage (we like Neese’s)
- 3⁄4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 3⁄4 cup shredded parmesan
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 5 dashes hot sauce (we like Tabasco)
- 3⁄4 cup diced tomatoes (1⁄2 cup if using canned)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 15 jalapeños, halved lengthwise, seeds and inner fibers removed
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the country sausage. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned and crumbled, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.
In a medium bowl, add the cheeses, lemon juice, hot sauce, tomatoes, thyme and cream cheese and mix until well combined. Fold in the sausage, and season with salt to taste.
Fill each jalapeño half with about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese filling; it should be full, but not heaping or the filling will overflow when cooked. Arrange the peppers on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or a roasting rack. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the peppers are slightly shriveled and the filling is browned in spots.
Let cool slightly before serving.