Roasted Jalapeños With Goat Cheese & Smoky Chile Cherries

stuffed-jalapenoMy New Year’s gift to you: an actual “quick & easy” recipe that is spicy, sweet, creamy, smoky & delicious. Suitable for a rollickin’ holiday party or a quiet nibble at home and easily adaptable to cheeses you have in the fridge and preserves in the pantry.

Roasting the jalapeños mellows their spicy bite (or you can include a mix of milder small chiles, as I have below), while a short roast and quick broil browns the cheese while maintaining some crunch, and kick, in the peppers.

I made a big batch of these babies for our annual Christmas party this year: they were, quite literally, gone before I knew what happened. I tasted one, turned around to attend to something else on the stove, and when I turned back? The entire tray was gone. Fair warning: make more than you think you need. This one is a hit.

Happy New Year, all. Wishing you good food, good friends and great times in the new year.

I used this Baked Stuffed Jalapeño recipe from Hank & Elise at Simply Recipes as a guide.

stuffed-jalapenoRoasted Jalapeños With Goat Cheese & Smoky Chile Cherries

INGREDIENTS

  • about 2 dozen jalapeño peppers (or other mildy spicy pepper), halved lengthwise, seeds & ribs removed
  • 1 cup (8 oz) smoky chipotle cherries
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz chèvre
  • large pinch salt
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • large pinch dried thyme leaves, or ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Add cherries with syrup to the bowl of a food processor; pulse a few times until cherries are chopped, but not pulverized.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, chèvre, salt, pepper and thyme. With a fork or slotted spoon, add chopped cherries, reserving some of the syrup to adjust taste & consistency of the filling. Mix well, taste, and adjust flavors by adding cheese, cherry syrup or spices as needed.
  4. Fill each jalapeño half with filling until just level. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, close together. Roast at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, then turn the heat up to broil and cook the peppers under the broiler just until the cheese starts to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yields about 4 dozen jalapeño halves; enough to fill one rimmed baking tray and/or feed about 20 people as a nibble.

stuffed-jalapenoOPTIONS

  1. For the Christmas party, I used about a dozen jalapeño peppers and a dozen red, orange and yellow mildly spicy peppers from Madura Farms. These peppers were milder than a jalapeño, but not as sweet as a bell pepper. Choose peppers that might be a bit too spicy for you to eat raw, but not so hot that eating a half of one will blow your top off.
  2. The longer you roast the peppers, the softer the flesh becomes and the milder the spice. I like the peppers to retain a bit of crunch, but this means that the jalapeños still pack a bit of a punch. For a milder pepper, roast for up to 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling, and skip the broil.
  3. For those of you without smoky chipotle cherries in the house (and why not??), I think almost any combination of smoky + sweet will work here. A loose marmalade with hot & smoked paprika; smoky cured bacon + maple syrup; chopped softened guajillo chiles + blackberry jam? The world is your jalapeño.

STORE

Cooked peppers are best eaten immediately. Filled peppers can be stored, refrigerated and wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

SEASON

Fall into Winter.

stuffed-jalapeno

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6 comments

  1. These are great–I made something similar a few months back and they were such a hit at the party I brought them to! Of course, mine were wimpy baby bell peppers, but you know. I also didn’t apply a sweet preserve. The cherries sound like a great addition!

    Happy New Year, Kaela!

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