Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. My dad's name isn't Peter but he sure helped me pick a peck (and then some) of peppers the last time I went home. Horn, cayenne, poblano, bell and of course jalapeño peppers filled our buckets to the brim as we went row by row, picking off the largest of each plant. As you may know from reading some of my earlier posts, my mom and dad have about an acre garden that keeps me fed throughout the summer. Peppers take up several rows he even has several large clay pots up on the deck.
You can do a lot with peppers, but typically they aren't the star of the show. Most of the time they are simply tossed in a dish to add a bit of flavor, spice or texture. With it being football season, I decided to do a little (Well Seasoned Table) twist on the traditional jalapeño popper that we all know and love. I've been making these poppers for several months (bacon, cheese, and jalapeños...what more could you want) but I was in the mood for something a little sweeter this past week.
I present you with the Roasted Fig Candied Bacon Popper (try saying that three times fast).
I've never candied bacon before (I know, I know...GASP) and it was a little tricky, but let me tell you, it was worth the work. Creamy, rich, a little sweet and a little spicy, these poppers will be the star of any tailgate or dinner party. These bite sized treats are great right out of the oven or straight out of the fridge as leftovers.
The key is to cook the bacon enough to caramelize but not long enough to become crispy. The softer the bacon, the easier it will be to wrap around the pepper. There is also more than one way to slice a pepper. I tried several different ways and my favorite is to slice the pepper lengthwise but not all the way through. This gives you easy access to scoop out the seeds, but leaves the stem on keeping in all the cheesy goodness as the peppers bake.
I took my twist one step further and made poblano and horn pepper poppers as well. I think my favorite are the poblano, but that might be due to the amount of cream cheese I could fit inside one pepper.
- 2 dozen jalapeños (substitute different types of peppers based on your taste or what you have on hand)
- 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used 1/8 cup cheddar and 1/8 cup smoked gouda)
- 1 package bacon, some strips sliced in half (depending on the size of the peppers)
- 2 teaspoons Well Seasoned Table Roasted Fig Sugar
- toothpicks (soaked in water so they wont burn)
Pre-heat the oven to 325. Line a large baking dish with foil. Put bacon in large plastic bag and add sugar. Toss until coated. Lay out bacon in single layer in baking pan. Place in pre-heated oven for 5-8 mins. Flip and bake for another 5-8 mins. Be careful not to cook bacon fully. While the bacon is cooking, de-seed peppers. Helpful hint: use gloves while slicing and removing the pepper seeds. Trust me, your hands will thank you. Mix cream cheese and shredded cheese in a bowl. Scoop into plastic bag to make filling the peppers easier. Fill peppers with cheese mixture and wrap bacon around each popper. Secure with one or two toothpicks. Re-line baking dish with fresh foil and crank the oven up to 400. Pop the poppers back in and bake, turning throughout, 20-30 mins. If the candied bacon seems like it may start to burn, cover dish with foil and continue backing until peppers are soft, cheese is melty and the bacon is crispy. Try not to eat them all before the rest of the family knows they are out of the oven!