I remember when I first heard abut jalapeno poppers. My friend Deb, who was a amateur body builder at the time in Washington D.C., explained to me what they were, wild-eyed, holding onto my arm, as though she was telling me about an Egyptian tomb she has uncovered after years of searching. “They’re jalapeno peppers! The whole pepper! And they are stuffed with cheese, and they are FRIED, the cheese melts everywhere, and they are the best freaking thing, ever, and I can believe people don’t know about them!” This is my memory of it, and I am quite sure it is 99% accurate. The year was about 1991.
Now, Deb was a body builder, and hence could eat any thing she liked with impunity, which is not the lot for the rest of us. The sporadic regime of elliptical machines and yoga that pepper my weeks don’t allow for the unregulated consumption of platters of jalapeno poppers. But once I did have one, I knew that she had in fact made an excellent discovery, and one that couldn’t be unlearned.
But at home, cleaning out individual jalapenos and stuffing them with cheese is not going to happen, for a multitude of reasons I know I don’t have to explain. But hot dips do happen, and they should happen more – we all agree – and SO, with a nod to Deb who showed me the light, and with appreciation (and a partial assignment of culpability) to whomever stuffed the first jalapeno with cheese, I offer up this Warm Jalapeno Popper Dip.
The seeds of the jalapenos are where most of the heat is, so the number of peppers used here should not scare you, though you can use less if you like, or more, or allow some of the seeds to sneak in for additional heat. This is really not all that hot, though. And as with many of my rich and indulgent recipe, you have the option to use low-fat dairy products – I used full fat, baby.
Serve with celery sticks (HA! Got you! Oh, you should have seen your face). Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, baguette slices, crackers, and sure some vegetables if you feel like it.
Warm Jalapeno Popper Dip
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 8-ounce cream cheese
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
- 4 jalapeno peppers seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 or 10-inch baking dish (preferably a pretty one – you’ll be serving the dip in it). You can also use cooking spray to coat the dish (kind of like having a Diet Coke with your fried chicken, which I also do).
- In a small bowl combine the Panko and the Parmesan, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, chilies, minced peppers, garlic powder, and the cheeses until well blended using an electric mixer, or a spoon (points for exercise!). Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle with the Panko mixture.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until hot, browned and bubbly.
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