Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers Stuffed with Pimento Cheese
Lightly salted Ritz crackers topped with P-cheese are a time-honored Southern snacking tradition. In this recipe, buttery bits of cracker are mashed-up with shredded cheddar, piquant pimentos, sharp green onions, and crispy celery, in homage to another favorite pimento cheese concoction. The combination is wrapped in smokey, sweet applewood-smoked bacon for a powerful and pleasing pop of flavor.
- 6 jalapeños
- 2 stalks celery, very finely chopped
- 2 ounces freshly grated cheddar (about ½ cup)
- 3 green onions, white and green, chopped
- 3 tablespoons diced pimentos, drained and finely chopped
- ½ cup mayonnaise, more if needed
- 15 Ritz crackers
- 6 thin slices uncooked applewood-smoked bacon, halved crosswise
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ►Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, then top with a wire rack. Set aside. Halve jalapeños lengthwise. Using the tip of a small spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Set aside.
- ►Place celery in a microwave safe bowl and cook until tender, about 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.
- ►In a medium bowl, stir together cooled celery, cheddar, green onions, pimento, mayonnaise, and Ritz crackers. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- ►Season the inside of each halved jalapeño with salt and pepper, then fill each with about 2
- tablespoons of the cheese-cracker mixture. (Fill until there’s a slight dome on top.)
- ►Wrap each stuffed jalapeño with 1 piece of bacon, setting one tip of bacon on top of the cream cheese filling, then wrapping the bacon under and over the popper at an angle, so the bacon covers the filling on top in two layers. (The bacon will shrink as it cooks, so you want to make sure the top of the popper is well covered.) Arrange poppers evenly on wire rack, nestling each popper between two parallel wires to keep upright.
- ►Transfer to oven, and bake until bacon is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Turn oven to broil and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm.
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