The older we get the more our precious time at home, together a family, matters. Whether we’re dancing to Robyn’s Dancing On My Own (which Ruthie used to dance to while we were sharing a body), sitting around the table painting or taking the sled for a spin around the block, we realize these moments are fleeting and try to make the most of them. Even if that means watching… sigh….sports. And to say my husband enjoys sports would be a great understatement, so when there is an important game on (….are they all important? I don’t know) we are sure to hunker down with him on the couch and make the most of the down time.
A little birdie (aka the whole world) told me that a little thing called Superbowl is coming up soon… superwhaaaaaat? Just kidding guys. I don’t live under a rock but sometimes I wish I did. So what’s superbowl without snacks? A pretty boring time watching dudes in tights run around, that’s what.
Snacks make sports worth watching, whether you’re the watcher or the tolerator, and snacking is something this family does RIGHT. No messing! And just because he’s watching the game, doesn’t mean Dada gets to shirk his kitchen duties. I’m not that nice! So I generally give him the monotonous job of peeling potatoes, chopping vegetables (“1/2inch! NO BIGGER!!”), battering snacks for frying, peeling the skin from blistered jalapenos… you know, the easy stuff that requires little attention so you can keep your eyes on that pigskin. So Dada and Ruthie took care of the dirty work for these delicious, crunchy, spicy and ooey-gooey poppers while I drank a beer with my feet up. How’s that for service? If your partner isn’t the cook in the family, give yourself a break by having them help with some simple, tedious prep.
Let me be the first to say, making these is a labour of love. Delicious, cheesy love. It is WAY easier to buy some from the frozen food section…but who knows what goes into those things. Every so often, it’s nice to put in the time and reap the rewards of a homemade pub classic.
Corn Battered Pimento Jalapeno Poppers
makes 12 poppers
I used Hewitt Dairy’s Goat Yogurt instead of the usual cream cheese in these poppers. It provides the same creamy richness but has an amazing tang and flavour that boosts the usual jalapeno popper.
12 large jalapenos peppers
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup sharp cheddar
1/4 cup Hewitts Dairy Goat Yogurt (3.5% milk fat)
1/4 cup pimento peppers
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups masa harina*
2 cups water
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tso salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 qt neutral oil (I like canola or vegetable or corn)
Hewitts Dairy Goat Yogurt, for dipping
2 green onions, sliced thin (for garnish)
Turn oven on to broil and bring rack to top third of oven. Place jalapenos on a baking sheet or oven-safe skillet and broil, turning occasionally, until charred in places and blistering (about 8-10 minutes). Dump into a bowl and cover tight with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Remove from the bowl and use a sharp pairing knife to gently peel the skin off the peppers without slicing through them. Cut a slit in one side of the peppers, being careful not to cut in half completely. You want to stuff them whole so you’re making an incision for that purpose. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix mozzarella, cheddar, yogurt, pimento pepper, cilantro and pepper. Divide into twelve equal portions and press into oblong masses. Stuff into your jalapenos, gently squeeze shut and set aside. Leftover cheese can be saved for your next mashed potato or potato skins or….whatever else you need pimento cheese for!
In a deep skillet or other heavy bottom, pan with high sides, add your oil and bring to a temperature of 375. Mix together your masa harina, water, chipotle, salt and water. Whisk together to combine. In another bowl, add the flour. Take your stuffed jalapenos, dredge in the flour and shake off the excess, then coat in the masa batter, allowing the extra to drip off for a moment. Place in your hot oil and fry, turning once or twice, until golden brown. Place on a rack or paper towel lined plate to cool. Serve with a sprinkle of green onion and extra yogurt for dipping. Serve right away, hot from the oil.
*Masa Harina is a type corn flour, generally used to make corn tortillas or tamales, and can be found in some well-stocked grocery stores in the International Foods aisle or at your local Latin specialty store.