I just love a good potluck, don’t you?! Takes the pressure off the host, everyone gets a chance to contribute and feel important, and it gives us all the opportunity to try new foods. It’s just win-win. Love that!

Well, The Gatekeeper and I had the chance to attend a humdinger of a potluck last Saturday night with some of our best church buddies. We were asked to bring an appetizer. Oh thank God. I hate it when people ask me to bring the paper products. What a slap in the face. I mean, really; you show up with maggoty rice salad ONE time

Anyhooo… I knew I wanted to bring something different but awesome. Nothing worse than bringing a duplicate dish and forcing all the guests to do a Taste Test in front of you both. (Speaking of which, I don’t care how Southern you think you are, if the hostess asks you to bring a green salad, do NOT show up with Baked Mac and Cheese. You totally fucked up my menu that time, Beverly. Pfffft.)

So I started thinking of all the appetizers in my arsenal, and one in particular jumped out as a major crowd pleaser: Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Jalapeños! I know, right? Bacon: the magic word. It just makes everything better. (Apologies to my Kosher readers.)

I was first introduced to this magical appetizer a couple years ago when my dear neighborhood friend Mama Cloud stuck a plate of them on my front porch and ding-dong-ditched me. What a refreshing change from the flaming bag of dog poo I was expecting! Instead, there was a note on the plate that said “You’ve been tagged by the Appetizer Fairy!” God, I love that girl.

Even if you don’t love spicy foods, you might like this. The baking plus the cream cheese mellows the jalapeños so that there is just a hint of a kick left. Although sometimes you do get a super hottie that will just light you up! But that’s part of the fun in my book…like a milder form of Russian Roulette! But instead of a violent bloody death the worst case scenario is the dreaded double burn. So worth it.

Another nice feature is that this is true finger food. It’s easy to grab and easy to eat, as opposed to dip & chips that can really slow the buffet line down and piss off the hungry people patiently waiting at the end of the line.

Are you sold yet? Here’s what you’ll need to recreate this magic in your own kitchen:

  • jalapeños (get at least a dozen!)
  • cream cheese
  • bacon
  • aluminum foil
  • toothpicks
  • rubber gloves (optional)

1.) Preheat your oven to 400° F and wash your jalapeños.

2.) Cut the tops off. Then slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes so you get two jalapeño “boats” from each pepper. TIP: if you have sensitive skin, wear contact lenses, are menstruating, or plan on changing a baby’s diaper later, wear rubber gloves for this part! Trust me.

3.) Use a butter knife and fill each jalapeño with cream cheese. It doesn’t matter what kind you buy. I used a brick of regular store-brand cream cheese for this batch. I’ve seen other recipes online where people mix herbs and spices in with the cream cheese first. Unnecessary. Keep it simple, I say.

4.) Line a baking tray with foil (for easy cleanup). Use a tray that has sides or you will have a bacony flavored greasy mess on your hands and a potential fire hazard to boot. Nothing spoils a party like a house fire, believe you-me.

5.) BACON TIME! I cut each of my raw bacon strips into thirds and stretched it a little to wrap it around the cream cheese stuffed jalapeño. It was perfect. You need about five inches (you don’t hear me say that everyday). Secure each bacon piece with a toothpick through the whole thing (including the bottom layer of the pepper). TIP: pull the number of toothpicks you’ll need (plus a few extra) out of the box before you get started so you don’t have to keep reaching into the box with your bacony fingers (ew!).

6.) Place in your preheated oven and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked. Remove from the oven and marvel at the majesty:

7.) Move them to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra grease, and then replate them onto something pretty.

8.) Eat a few before you take them to the potluck or you’ll never get any...these things move FAST.

9.) Stand back and watch people go berserk while they fight over these babies. Then flash some gang symbols, shout “AW HELLS YEAH!” and enjoy knowing that you’ll never be relegated to paper products again!

Like my cooking style? (What is wrong with you?) Here’s a link to other recipes/kitchen tips I’ve posted previously.

still brimming with potluck pride,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.