Everybody loves jalapeño poppers. They are just the right amount of spicy balanced with the right amount of creamy cheesiness, and by God they have bacon. Who could ask for anything more? Oh, a nice Raspberry-Merlot sauce to dip them in? Sure thing.
6 good sized jalapeño peppers
3 slices of smoked bacon (cut in half to make six pieces)
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Approximately)
Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425° F. Cook the bacon on a plate lined with paper towel in a microwave until almost crisp, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Wash and slice the jalapeños in half length-wise. Deseed the peppers also removing as much of the inner rib as possible. Blend the cream cheese and cheddar cheese together very well. Next, fill each half of the jalapeño with cream cheese and cheddar mixture. Place on baking sheet filling side up and top each pepper with a half slice of bacon. Bake in oven until cheese is bubbly, bacon is very crisp, and jalapeno is beginning to soften: approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes. Serve with Raspberry-Merlot sauce.
2 packages frozen, unsweetened raspberries (about 4 cups)
1 ½ cups Merlot wine
1 cup sugar
In a medium sauce pan, combine all ingredients. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the mixture is thick and reduced to about 1 cup: about 30 minutes. Occasionally stir the sauce to prevent scorching. Allow to completely cool before serving.
Sometimes you run across and idea and you can’t help but wonder aloud, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I read another food blog written by Kevin Flinch called Closet Cooking: Cooking in a closet sized kitchen in which he described a jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich. He has several “different” grilled cheese sandwiches that sound very good. This one, in particular, caught my eye as Susan and I had just happened to have had jalapeño poppers as a snack that evening. I changed the amounts of the ingredients just slightly and changed the assembly some but the idea for this sandwich is Kevin’s. Here is what I did.
2 Jalapeño peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 Slices sourdough bread
Butter (Approximately 2 tablespoons)
Cream cheese, room temperature (Approximately 1 tablespoon)
¼ cup Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
Roast the jalapeño peppers by placing the peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil peppers until the outer skin of the peppers has blistered and turned black, about 15 minutes. Place the peppers in a zip-lock type bag and let them cool until you can handle them. After peppers have cooled, about 20 minutes, remove the skins from the peppers. They skin should pinch off relatively easily.
Next, assemble the sandwich. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread the cream cheese on the opposite side of one slice of bread. You may find it easier to wait to butter this slice of bread until the sandwich is on the grill with this slice on top. Next, layer the slice with tortilla chips. Then place the jalapeños on top of the chips followed with the shredded cheddar jack cheese. Place the last slice of sourdough on top and grill the sandwich until golden brown and the cheese is melted. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on hot the grill is.
This sandwich was very tasty. The chips provided an extra crunch and flavor that added to the overall texture of the sandwich. I can’t wait until spring to try another of his grilled cheese sandwiches: a grilled asparagus and Gruyere cheese sandwich.