Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo at Casa Scampwalker

Every year we try to observe Cinco de Mayo at the hacienda... mostly through culinary exploits. Tonight we're dining on beef fajitas (our last package, no less) from Fiesta Mart in Dallas. Some snobs may cry foul, since these are pre-marinated and ready to go, but I've never heard anyone complain who's actually eaten them. The skirt steak is perfectly trimmed -- not stripped clean of the fat like we get up here in the Midwest -- and the marinade is spot-on. They're ordered fresh from the butcher case, no cryo-vac involved. When we visit the family in Dallas, we typically buy 30 pounds or so and freeze them. Some homemade black bean refritos (with bacon grease, por supuesto) and one of my own creations, highlighted in this post, round out the plate.

This creation is something I can proudly say I came up with on my own: pulled pork and cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers. That name is way to long and unwieldy -- alternate names are welcome. Anyhow, like most good recipes, this one came from leftovers. I had some spare(homemade) pulled pork in the fridge, and was looking for a new vessel in which to serve it. Needless to say, this little item will never be classified as diet food, but I can honestly say that I've received nothing but high praise -- from Mexican purists to spicy food sissies. Here's the recipe.

  • Combine equal parts (weight-wise) of cream cheese (low fat is fine), shredded cheddar cheese, and pulled pork (I've also used chopped beef brisket with equally good results) in a large mixing bowl. The amounts depends on the number of peppers. For 30 large peppers, I use about 8oz. of each.
  • Add half a bunch of coarsely chopped cilantro, minced garlic, a teaspoon of cumin, and ground chipotle pepper to taste.
  • Blend with an electric hand mixer, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. The better chilled the stuffing is, the easier it is to stuff the peppers.

  • Get large, glossy, thick-walled jalapenos, preferably with long stems. Make a slit from stem to tip. Use a baby spoon (clever, eh?) to scoop out all seeds and veins (the white, woody portion holding the seeds in the center and on the walls). You can leave the veins in, but it'll result in much hotter peppers.
  • Take the filling out of the fridge, and generously fill each pepper (fingers work as well or better than the spoon).

  • Cut bacon slices in half, and use each piece to wrap the pepper, taking care to cover the incision as much as possible, and secure with a toothpick.
  • Grill over medium, indirect heat. A direct flame underneath results in scorched bacon and an empty jalapeno. Gently turn them as the bacon browns. Goo will drip, but the bacon should brown before the majority leaks out. You're aiming for softened, but not soggy, peppers, semi-crispy bacon, and gooey innards.
  • Serve with copious amounts of beer or tequila.
I'll guarantee you -- you'll get rave reviews and requests for the recipe. Tell 'em Scampwalker sent you.

1 comment:

  1. Scamp..............sorry it's taken so long for me to spend any time here, thanks to Mike, I now have been turned on to this wonderful recipe. Oh the possibilities!