Hello goat cheese jalapeño poppers. Your traditional poppers are filled with cream cheese, maybe even wrapped with bacon. Don’t get me wrong, I love cream cheese. And bacon? Well that’s a given. But a sweet chili cilantro goat cheese combination is simply unbeatable. Heaven stuffed into a jalapeño, if you will. Don’t be put off by the jalapeños if you don’t handle heat well – once you take out the seeds, they’re just a tasty pepper. Want extra heat? Keep in some of the seeds and add the optional Sriracha to the goat cheese mix.
I have to admit, I’m a cilantro fiend. As soon as I see anything with cilantro in it, I jump a little. It’s noticeable most of the time, I don’t hide my excitement well. If I’m at a restaurant, you can bet I’ll order whatever has cilantro in the description. Moderately predictable. Or just plain old consistent. Cilantro is really a love or hate kind of herb though. If you’re a hater, either leave it out or substitute chives.
goat cheese jalapeño poppers
useful gadgets: mini food processor
6 jalapeños, halved
5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp sweet chili
1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 1-inch thick slice sourdough bread
Preheat the oven to 375° and place a rack in the upper half of the oven.
To prepare the jalapeños, cut each in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon, leaving some if you want to add some extra heat to your poppers. If you want to make sure the halves are nice and clean of seeds, run each under cold water and blot it dry with a paper towel.
If your goat cheese isn’t at room temperature, microwave it for 10 seconds so it’s soft enough to work with. Combine the goat cheese, chopped cilantro and sweet chili in a small bowl. Mix until the ingredients are well combined.
Take a spoon and fill each jalapeño to the brim with the goat cheese mixture. Put the slice of sourdough bread in a food processor and pulse until a bread crumb like mixture forms. Mix the crumbs with the butter so they brown nicely. And taste a bit better. Not that sourdough bread isn’t scrumptious on its own, but adding a little butter never hurt anyone. Not necessarily Paula Deen style, but a tablespoon here, and a tablespoon there.
Now I’m going to go on a homemade bread crumb tangent. Because I can. I don’t think you’ll mind too much. I know, the store bought bread crumbs are so easy and they come in those tubes that last forever (give or take a decade). It’ll take 5 minutes to make your own. And you can’t go wrong with sourdough breadcrumbs. Use the bread you get in the bakery aisle of a grocery store or head to your local bakery. For me, that’s Clear Flour. Best bread around. If you live in the Boston area, check them out.
Top the jalapeños with the homemade bread crumbs and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread them about 1-inch apart and make sure they don’t tip over too much.
Bake the poppers for about 10 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature. They’re even delicious cold. I may have noshed on some leftovers right out of the fridge. No shame. They’re delish.