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stuffed jalapeño poppers, cream cheese and preserved lemon.

As your pantry begins to fill with preserves and home made items, it will becomes clear that the quality of the ingredients you are working with becomes higher.

An experienced chef will tell you the better your products the simpler your dishes become.

I'm a snob towards fast food and products associated with it.

I like eating it, but only when it's good.

Jalapeno Poppers are in that category for me. I like eating them. but I know they are bought in to most restaurants pre stuffed, frozen. probably cooked from frozen in a lot of establishments. most pre-made products will source their ingredients from the lowest bidder. even thought I like them the thought puts a bitter taste in my mouth.

I always had a smile on my face when we were serving glazed bbq spare ribs on the menu because the core ingredients had been sourced from high welfare animals. The glaze had been made from homemade stocks, ferments, vinegar, mustard, used honey instead sugar. They were served with fresh herbs, homemade pickles, locally grown leaves.

An example of our approach to comfort food, simple in preparation as long as the foundation is strong, even the unrefined can be elegant.

Back to the first paragraph, the better your products the better your food will be, and the simpler preparations outshine the heavily involved ones. these poppers are still firm and a far cry from the soggy tasteless variety you will get from your local pizza or smashed burger establishments.

Often toward the end of summer fresh jalapeño peppers will show up at the market. they are cheap, I always buy a big bag and ferment and pickle them for sandwiches over winter. its nice to make a fresh dish with them too. if you have a tub of cream cheese in the fridge and a jar of salted lemons this makes a nice snack or starter.

I associate poppers with American sports bars, something people snack on watching the game. good with cold beer. for that reason I made these crumbed and baked. so you can put a big tray in the oven and get back to socialising or the game.

if you don't have preserved lemon you can leave it out, or add some extra lemon zest. the salted lemon will had a little extra to the mix and make the whole thing meatier. give a little extra depth.

Jalapeno poppers stuffed with cream cheese and preserved lemon

10 fresh jalapeños (or shishito or padron peppers)

1 tbs preserved lemon skin

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

300g cream cheese

salt to taste.

200g bread crumbs

2 eggs

1 cup flour

  1. in a bowl mix together cream cheese, preserved lemon, lemon zest, thyme. try not to mix too thoroughly as the cream cheese can become runny which will make an issue when crumbing.

  2. cut each jalapeño in half lengthways and remove the seeds.

  3. fill the cavity of the jalapeño with the cream cheese mix.

  4. whisk your eggs and set into a small bowl,

  5. lay out an area of your bench to crumb the jalapeños, three bowls one with flour, one with beaten eggs, one with flour. then a tray to place the finished crumbed peppers.

  6. the next step is to crumb each pepper, this is done by rolling the stuffed pepper in flour, followed by eggs, followed by breadcrumbs. try to use the minimum amount of each so stop clumping. an even single layer of each is best.

  7. poppers can now be chilled until needed or cooked.

  8. to finish pre heat your oven to 180 C.

  9. bake on a tray for 20 minutes until crisp and golden.

  10. sprinkle with salt and enjoy warm with a cold beer, keep in mind they will be boiling hot inside so you can kiss the roof of your mouth goodbye if you are impatient.

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