This is one of my favorite recipes. I love jalapeño poppers but they are so unhealthy and full of cheese and gluten that I really thought I would just give them up completely when my diet changed. After having success with baked, unbattered chile rellenos though, I decided to try making a version of jalapeños that I can eat and I honestly like them a lot better than the original. These jalapeño poppers have become a party staple and they freeze really well so I make a big batch and keep them on hand in the freezer for get togethers or as a side with a good steak. They are a little labor intensive but they are so worth it! Bonus: they are a lot healthier! They aren’t fried, there’s no bacon, and I use sheep & goat milk for easier digestion.
3 oz Sliced Prosciutto (Nitrate free if you can find it)
4 oz Dill & Garlic Goat Cheese (If your store only has regular goat cheese you can make your own. Let the cheese come to room temperature in a bowl then add some garlic powder and dried dill and mix it well with a fork)
3 oz Manchego Cheese (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese)
10-14 fresh jalapeños
First, you need to clean your jalapeños (if you are wearing contacts I strongly suggest you take them out for the day before starting this, or wear gloves). Slice each jalapeño in half lengthwise, it will look like the pepper on the right in the picture above, your goal is to make it look like the pepper on the left. Use your knife to separate the stem at the top from the seeds and membrane inside and along the edges of the pepper. I find it easiest to use my fingers to pull the seeds and everything out but you can continue using your knife and spoon if you want to avoid the peppers as much as possible. The more white membrane you leave, the hotter the pepper will be so if you are looking for a milder flavor you may want to clean it out even more than I did above.
Once you have cleaned all of your peppers, lay them out on your cutting board or the cookie sheet you will use to bake them. Slice the manchego cheese into small long blocks, about the size of the bottom of a hollowed out jalapeño and place them in each pepper.
Now stuff the remaining space in each pepper with goat cheese. Again, while it’s very messy, I find this easiest to do with my hands but 2 spoons can work if you don’t want to touch the peppers. As an alternative, you can use only manchego or goat cheese. The reason I use the 2 cheeses together is I like the creaminess of the goat cheese but it’s a stronger flavor so the 2 balance each other out really well.
Take each slice of prosciutto and slice into 3 pieces lengthwise, then wrap each strip around one jalapeño half. Start at the top and wrap around the pepper until you run out of prosciutto. Push each end of the prosciutto into the goat cheese lightly and it will hold itself in place.
This is the point at which you separate the peppers you are going to freeze from those you are going to cook. Place the peppers in the bottom of a tupperware container then place plastic wrap over the first layer and you can stack more on top. Place plastic wrap between each layer to keep them from freezing together.
When ready to cook, place the peppers on aluminum foil in a pan or cookie sheet and put in the oven preheated to 375. If room temperature, cook 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and prosciutto is beginning to get crispy. If frozen, cook about 20 minutes until you get the same result.
Enjoy! One last tip: if you plan to take these poppers to a party, make quite a few. They tend to go really fast!