Bacon and Corn Jalapeno Poppers, Two Ways


12 large jalapeno peppers
8 ounces cream cheese or neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (1 packed cup) sharp cheddar OR pepper jack cheese, grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups dried breadcrumbs or panko


Cut each jalapeno in half. Scoop out the core and remove all of the seeds.

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Mix thoroughly; then fold in the corn and bacon. Generously stuff each pepper with a dollop of the cream cheesefilling and set aside. (Note: The first two steps can be completed in advance. Store the stuffed peppers in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to cook. Continue with the remaining steps below.)

Arrange three small to medium-size bowls side by side. In the first bowl, mix the flour, salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper. In the second bowl add the eggs, and in the third bowl, the breadcrumbs.

Dip a stuffed pepper into the bowl of flour and cover on all sides, brushing to remove any excess. Next dip the pepper into the egg mixture, submerging it completely. Finally dredge the pepper in thebreadcrumbs, generously coating it on all sides. Repeat with the remaining peppers.

To bake the poppers: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the breaded peppers, stuffed side up, onto a well-greased sheet pan. Cook for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm.

To fry the poppers: Fill a large cast iron or enamel pot with 3 inches of peanut oil. Heat the oil to 350 degrees over medium-high to high heat. Working in batches, fry the peppers until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Using a spider, remove the peppers to a sheet pan lined with paper towels or a large brown paper bag. Return the oil to 350 degrees before continuing on to the next batch. Serve warm.

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