Party (Chilli)Poppers

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So you know me by now. For my Christmas Menu I wanted something a little bit different that would still tie in with Christmas themes…. It also just so happens that the Jalapeño Chilli plants I grew from the seeds I was given last Christmas have only just borne fruit…. and so I give you my Christmassy take on jalapeño poppers – I’ve replaced the more traditional cream cheese filling with Wensleydale with Cranberry, and wrapped in Turkey rashers, just so you can be sure that they’re definitely 100% bonafide Christmas food! A dollop of Cranberry Jelly adds the perfect sweetening touch to lighten the fire of the chillies 😀

Feliz Navidad!


Ingredients

As many jalapeños as you need (2 or 3 per person)

A big whack of Wensleydale with Cranberry

Some Turkey Rashers (allow one slice for every 1 or 2 chillies)

A dollop of Cranberry Jelly


Method

  1. Pop the oven on to pre-heat, to about 180-200ºc
  2. Halve the chillies lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds/membranes
  3. Crumble some Wensleydale into each half… you want them to be quite well packed, but remember that next you’re going to…
  4. Put the halves back together, and wrap a bacon-rasher around each, so don’t over-fill them!
  5. Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the rashers start to colour well
  6. Serve with the Cranberry Jelly

Tidy!

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Tidy Savings

Now, I said that I’d wanted to use my home-grown jalapeños in this recipe, which is true… but what I didn’t say is that all mine were red, and I wanted a combination of red and green for that festive feel, so I also bought some green ones. I’ve therefore included the cost of chillies as well… which I suppose is only right as not everybody has a stock of their own, anyway!

It was always going to be close this week, with only four ingredients, but coming out on top is ASDA, with their £5.15 beating Tesco down into second place at £5.35.

Sainsbury’s take an unexpected third at £5.60 with Morrisons some way behind at £5.71. In both cases, the cost of turkey rashers significantly put them behind, as both carried only the Mathesons brand. Cranberry Sauce was also a player this week, with ASDA and Tesco both having some at 75p, while Morrisons and Sainsbury’s were at 82p and 80p respectively.


Tidy Tweaks

Well the first thing to note is that chilli poppers are more usually stuffed with a cream cheese (or a mixture of cream cheese and something like cheddar). I deliberately veered away from that for my christmas theme. The Wensleydale is very tasty (although the cranberry element is somewhat lost) but not particularly melty, so if you value that unctuous gooey, chin-and-tongue-scaldy quality, then swap the cheese! I actually quite enjoyed the “firmness” of these.

Similarly, I went for turkey rashers as a reference to Christmas, but in hindsight, Pigs in Blankets are pretty Christmassy, too… so swapping the turkey rashers for streaky bacon could be both visually appealing, super-tasty, and easier to work with when wrapping the chillies. The turkey did taste nice, but was a bit thick for wrapping… this is why I went for the (skimpy-looking) half-slice per chilli, rather than a whole slice. The streaky bacon would also crisp up more, and provide for some interesting texture variation. Plus bacon. Mmmmmmm. Bacon.

It’s also fairly common to find chilli-poppers breaded and deep-fried – I do often find these to be a bit watery inside, though, so think i’d stick with oven-baked.

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