The only thing left in our veggie garden is this crazy jalapeno plant. Crazy because it’s still thriving even though it only reached about 12-inches in height and is forever tipping over from the weight of the mass quantities of spicy-delicious peppers it continues to produce. We harvested so many jalapenos, in fact, that I’m struggling to use them up before they go bad! Which is why I decided to make Crawfish Jalapeno Poppers today. With this recipe, I can knock out 24 or more (depending on their size). That’ll leave me with a only handful. Well, at least until the next branch breaks!
I’ve always loved the concept of jalapeno poppers but have never been overly impressed with the frozen ones or, for that matter, many of the restaurant versions. The majority of those are too heavily breaded or overstuffed with cream cheese. Both of those things rob the jalapenos of their incredible flavor and awesome texture. When I “pop” a stuffed jalapeno in my mouth, I want to feel the crisp crunch of the pepper followed by a solid hit of heat and then a tongue-cooling creaminess. My poppers do just that and more thanks to a light beer batter and the addition of crawfish tails and Creole seasoning. Now, don’t fret if you can’t get your hands on crawfish tails, are allergic to shellfish or have some sort of weird aversion to crawfish (not any of my readers, I hope). Shrimp and crabmeat are fine substitutes. As are cooked chicken, bacon, sausage or any type of ground or shredded meat.
Something else I need to point out is that for some unknown reason the jalapenos from our garden are incredibly hot. I’m talking so hot that I started coughing uncontrollably from the “fumes” when I was seeding them. If you find yours to be as spicy (you’ll know as soon as you cut the stem off and breathe), remove as much of the white/light colored ribs as you can without tearing the peppers. A sharp pairing knife should do the trick. Then pack them full of that yummy filling and fry away.
And finally, you’ll be impressed to know that even though I’ve been strapped for blogging time lately, I did carve out a few extra minutes to make and type up the recipe for a lovely, jalapeno-popper-appropriate cocktail. This is one adult beverage I’ve been meaning to share with y’all all summer. It’s a Mango Margarita. Doesn’t it look yummy? Oh, and guess what? It tastes even better than it looks. Now the recipe (which is from Food & Wine) calls for rimming the glass with chile powder. I ended up using chipotle chile powder on mine because that’s what I stock. The contrasting flavors were good at first. But after my third sip, I had had enough and ended up wiping the rest off. Approach this drink the way you think you’ll like it or … have a Miller Lite!!
Until next week …
Crawfish Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
24 jalapeno peppers
1/2 pound frozen crawfish tails, thawed, drained and chopped
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm beer
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
In a large skillet or electric fryer, heat oil to 360 degrees. Cut stems off peppers; scoop out seeds. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine crawfish tails, cheeses, onion, garlic and Creole seasoning. Place mixture in a large resealable plastic bag. Push mixture to the bottom corner of the bag and twist like you would a piping bag (which you can also use). Snip corner of bag and squeeze filling into peppers. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, beer, baking powder and salt. Working in batches, dip stuffed jalapeños into beer batter. Carefully place poppers into hot oil; fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Drain on wire rack or paper towels. Cool slightly before serving. Poppers can be kept warm in a preheated 225 degree oven. Makes 24 poppers.
Mango Margarita Recipe
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 lime wedge
1 small fresh mango, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped (or 1 cup frozen mango)
3 ounces grapefruit soda (I used Squirt soft drink)
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
1 1/2 ounces agave nectar
3-4 ounces tequila
1 cup ice
Spread chile powder in a dish. Moisten rim of margarita glass with lime wedge; dip rim in chile powder to coat. In a blender, puree mango. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve. Makes 1 drink.