Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pick a Peck of These Poppers!


The chill in the air signals that the holiday season will be popping up soon. With that comes friends, family, festivities, and feasting! Whether you like to go a'visitin or if you open your home to the masses, it's always great to have some great munchies to tame the crowd until dinner time.

One little tasty item that I've come to love is Jalapeno poppers. This is a relatively new development. During my last pregnancy, I developed a love for spicy peppers, and the affinity for them remained after giving birth. Prior to that, I wanted nothing to do with the sweat inducing crunchers, but now, well, I love them.
There are so many great ways to prepare them. Some folks like to wrap them in bacon; others like to batter and fry them. Then there is the cheese debate ... cream cheese filling or cheddar? When it comes to poppers, I'm a cream cheese kind of girl, plus creamy dairy tends to tame the fire of chili peppers, so there you have it.

When the threat of frost was forecast the other day, I quickly harvested what was left in my garden including a handful of jalapenos. As I was putting them in the fridge, I saw some cream cheese and immediately thought of poppers. The problem, though, was that I only had about 8 peppers, and really didn't want to use up all of my pepp's on poppers. I then thought about that artichoke dip/spread that is made with cream cheese, and wondered how it would taste if I substituted jalapenos for the artichokes? A quick internet search showed me that about 1/2 the population had already thought of it, and there were several recipes to try out.

I settled on one that incorporated both fresh and canned chilies. Actually, this combo was suggested in the comments section by someone who made the recipe, and I liked what she had to say. Boy, was this GREAT! It has heat, but not cloyingly so. This was also soooo much easier to prepare than the traditional popper recipe. Don't get me wrong, I still love poppers. However, this dish requires little effort and produces a great result. It will serve a crowd; you may want to make a double batch because it goes quickly! I served mine with asiago bread that I sliced into bite sized pieces, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and baked in the 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes. So, without further ado, here's the recipe.

Paula's Poppin Popper Spread

2 bricks cream cheese - softened (I softened mine in the microwave)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 heaping cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 seeded and chopped small finger sized fresh jalapenos
2 tablespoons chopped jarred jalapeno peppers
1 small can whole fire roasted and peeled green chilies - diced

Heat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Don't use a food processor ... you want to have the contrast of creamy and crunchy texture. Pour into a baking casserole dish. This will puff up as it cooks, so leave about an 1" of space to the top. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and starting to brown.

Now, for those of you who DON'T like heat, not to worry. You can easily eliminate the jalapeno's, and just use MILD canned green chilies. La Victoria has a lovely product of WHOLE fire roasted peeled green chilies. Don't buy the prechopped ones. For some reason, when I purchase those, they are tough and very unappetizing. The whole chilies, however, are just lovely. It only takes a snap to slice and dice them.

I should also point out to those of you who DO love HEAT, that this recipe only ranks to just about medium on the fire scale. If you want more heat, use hotter peppers (maybe serranos) and more of them. I like the warmth from the jalapenos, but I don't want it hot enough to clear out my sinuses.

Serve with bread. Make yummy noises.

This tastes so amazing. It has great texture. It really clings to the bread. Doesn't it look pretty? I'm actually going to mix it with some roasted chicken and use it as an enchilada filling. YUM!

27 comments:

Cheryl said...

Good god you are clever, my husband HATES the artichoke dip, but I be he would love this! I will make it when he gets home in 16 long days ;(

Pam said...

Yum. This is my kind of appetizer....perfect for the cooler weather. My husband would really enjoy this - he loves jalapenos.

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

yes, this does look amazing - it sounds fiery with all those jalapenos, but i'll take your word for it that it isnt too hot!

the pasta my sicilian neighbour offered us has inspired me to make my own pasta - i think that was the best part of the dish!

Bellini Valli said...

Mmmm Paula...this is a less fussy way to get all the wonderful flavours of poppers...and not from the frozen food section:D

Katherine Aucoin said...

Yummy - this is right up my alley and my husband would adore your dip. I will have to surprise him with your dip this weekend during a football game.

Lo said...

What a great idea. This concept has never occurred to me -- but it looks simply fabulous.

We'd love this at our house... and it might just make it onto our soup night tables this winter!

Aggie said...

Paula, this is fantastic!! I loooooove jalapenos, love poppers, but love this spread even more!! I'll have to make this for friends on game day soon!

The Blonde Duck said...

Simple, but brilliant! I love it!

Bridgett said...

When you make the enchiladas, will you invite me over? Wow, this just sounds amazing right now to the point I am having a massive craving!! Your photo is enticing as well. This would be a huge hit at out house.

Deborah said...

Ooooh, I really want some of this!! But I was informed by my husband last night that I can't do anything else with jalepenos if I plan on him eating. But I guess that would leave more for me!!

LW said...

Yay, a food blog! With pictures!!! <3 :oD I'm so glad you found me...now I can follow your blog.

Esi said...

I love this! The taste of poppers without all the dirty dishes!

Marjie said...

Where did my comment go? *sob* I think this is really pretty, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the microwave is a great melting device! I can't believe my comment from 10AM was eaten by blogger, or something? Who knows, maybe blogger thought it could sample your delightful dip...

Peter M said...

I am going to ignore that this contains 2 bricks of cream cheese and pretend I'm eating the whole thang!

Jan said...

I'm amazed there's any left to use in enchiladas! I just know I would love this dip.

Paula said...

Hi Everyone!

Cheryl: Hey, maybe you could slip some of your hubby's fiery red peppers into his portion of this! Ha! Okay, I did not just mention that!

Pam: My hubby chowed on this. He liked it with corn chips, too.

Mediterranean Kiwi: My jalapenos are just medium spicy, so adjust accordingly. I don't like to have steam coming out of my ears!

Bellini valli: This was soooo easy to put together, and way way better than anything frozen or store bought!

Katherine Aucoin: This would be perfect to serve during the football season!

Lo: I was so pleased with how it turned out! I will definitely be making it again.

Aggie: This would be perfect to feed a crowd! Adjust the heat according to the rest of your munchies!

The Blonde Duck: This literally was a snap to make AND clean up!

Bridgett: Oh yeah, it was good in the enchiladas. Simple ... combine chix, dip, roll up and top with verde sauce. Bake and devour. YUM! Come on over; I'll make more!

Deborah: More for us! It was so good! I would have loved this when I was expecting!

LW: It's such a delight to have you back in the blogsphere. Please stop by anytime! I'll be visiting you, too!

Esi: Are you home? This was a no fuss no mess dish to prepare and clean up!

Marjie: I'm glad you came back, especially so because I know peppers aren't your thing. Did you see that Lori's back in the blogsphere! Yeah!

Peter: Gotta love the folks who invented cream cheese! It's the mayo I'm pretending isn't there! It's so darn good, though, it would stop me from eating it! :-)

Paula said...

Hi Jan -- Your comment came in while I was typing the other response! I purposefully scooped out a little and hid it so that I'd have some for the 'childas. There was NONE left otherwise!

Pam said...

This sounds amazing! I like things a little hot, not too much and this sounds perfect. I'm hoping to get one more harvest from my jalopenos.

noble pig said...

I like the idea of this much better than the poppers..how dang perfect this would taste...must have it.

Grace said...

my mammy would love this--the cheese would soften the blow of the peppers. she's sensitive like that. :)
great creation.

perennialgardener said...

That looks really delicious. A great snack for movie night or a football game.

Candy said...

Looks like a great way to use up my jalapenos! Thanks!

Gloria said...

Paula, this look amazing really love it!! xGloria

Proud Italian Cook said...

Nice and spicy!! Yumm! I'm afraid I wouldn't stop eating this. It's so addicting! I want to see those enchilada's, that sounds awesome!!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

we must have been doing the same things today - i stuck up a new map of greece on the wall, and had to do a bit of rearranging with the others...

Jason said...

Yum, yum, yum, is all I have to say! Oh, and also the whole idea with the chicken and enchiladas, genious, what a wonderful recipe!

Kevin said...

I really really like the sound of a jalapeno popper dip! Bookmarked.