Uncle Steve's Pop-N-Neros
Hot and tasty - A kitchen workhorse and the foundation of many party Appetizers, Hors d'oeuvre, and SnacksRated 4.7 / 5 based on 11 reviews
Prep Time: 10 min Total Time: 35 min Yield: 8 Serving
Nutrition facts: 240 calories 9 grams fat
12 whole Habanero chile pepper (orange) stemmed
1/2 pound jack cheese finely grated
1 teaspoon fresh horseradish (optional)* finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped fine
1 tablespoon bacon bits (fresh cooked)
1 cup instant pancake mix
1/2 cup durum wheat flour
Fry lean bacon to crispy and drain on paper towels. Great cheese fine. Remove stems and chop cilantro leaves fine. Grate horseradish root fine.
Cut a small circular hole in the tops of peppers around the stem, approximately. 3/8 inch, and remove stem and seeds core.
Mix cheese, horseradish, cilantro and bacon bits together. Stuff mixture into chilies.
Put about a 1/2 inch or peanut oil in your favorite cast iron skillet and heat to high, but not smoking. Other oils are OK and using a deep fat fryer would work also.
Mix a thin pancake batter using approximate. double the amount of water called for.
Plunge stuffed habs into batter and then roll in durum flour. After all 12 are coated repeat for a second time.
A lazy-man's alternative for the batter is to cut phyllo dough and wrap each pepper. This method is not as messy, easier, faster and still taste great.
Cook only 2-3 at a time to keep the oil hot. Cook each side for 30-45 seconds (flip gently with a fork), until golden tan, not brown. Serve hot.
I find it hard to eat one whole Habanero Chile fresh and ripe off the plant. But I can usually eat 5-6 of these critters at a sitting. The seed removal, cooking and cheese seem to make the "heat" level more tolerable (at least for me).
*Alternate filling ingredients: Horseradish can be over powering and "kill" the flavor of the other ingredients some times. You can leave it out or substitute cumin, celery seed, garlic etc. Experiment, it's the fun part of cooking!... Or is it the eating? Enjoy!!
© Jim Catanich