My 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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add cherries with syrup to the bowl of a food processor; pulse a few times until cherries are chopped, but not pulverized.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Cooked peppers are best eaten immediately. Filled peppers can be stored, refrigerated and wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.
Fall into Winter.