So I was trying to think of what *I* want to cook/eat for the big game and landed on this idea of combining two of my favorite party foods. And because it's all just so wildly exciting, we need something a little spicy, no? YES. Yes, we do. :)
~serves 4 or more for appetizers~
- one pound (about 15) peeled and deveined prawns, tail removed (wild, please!)
- 3 big fresh jalapeño peppers
- 1 block cream cheese
- 15 slices bacon
- 15 toothpicks
Let me start by saying I had to make these three times to perfect them. The first time they were fabulous, but the shrimp was perfectly cooked and the jalapeño was still pretty crunchy. The second time, after pre-cooking the pepper, they were just right. The third time was just to confirm that they were, indeed, ridiculously tasty. Ha! Okay! Preheat your oven to 350. Start by cutting each jalapeño in half, removing the seeds, stem and center section, and then slicing each half (the long way) in thirds so you have 6 slices from each pepper. Toss the slices into a glass baking dish (or whatever pan you're going to use to cook the poppers in) and cook for 10 minutes at 350. When they're done, transfer them out of the dish and let them cool for 3 minutes or so before you try handling them.
While the peppers are softening in the oven, get out your cream cheese block and slice it into thick matchsticks. I cut about 1/2 inch slices, and then cut those in half the long way again. We're also going to pre-cook the bacon a little bit. This is the first time I've ever microwaved bacon and I have to say it worked like a charm. Easy-peasy! So - remove your bacon from the package and stack two paper towels on a plate. Lay the bacon on the plate and then cover with two more paper towels. Microwave for 5 minutes... this will make your kitchen smell like bacon heaven. You can also use the pepper cooking time to remove the tails from your prawns and give them a quick rinse. You don't necessarily need to rinse the prawns, but I find that they have a lighter finished flavor that way. Pat them dry with a paper towel and then get ready to roll!
It's simply a matter of stacking the pepper, a slice of cream cheese, and the prawn together, and then wrapping the stack with a slice of the bacon. A well-placed toothpick should hold everything together nicely and then just lay the finished popper in the baking dish.
Bake the poppers at 350 for exactly 20 minutes if you're using our u-15 prawns. (With a smaller shrimp or prawn back your time down appropriately - the Big Deal with cooking these is to *not* overcook the prawn, while making sure that the rest of the ingredients come together nicely.)
Serve these bad boys with a spoonful of zesty Chipotle Barbecue Sauce - recipe to follow! And p.s. if all goes well we should have the sauce pre-made available to purchase at the shop this week to make things extra- easy! And the poppers can easily be constructed the day before the party and then simply removed from the refrigerator and baked for serving. If you're a guest and not the host, just confirm that you can use the oven for 20 minutes at some point and you should be good to go! Yay!