The Covered Dish: Candied Jalapenos & Bacon Spread

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This past summer I wrote a simple recipe for candied jalapenos, alias ‘cowboy

candy’. They were extremely popular. Each time I demonstrated the recipe I

would rattle off 101 ways to use the candied jalapenos. Finally after the fact I

wrote a ‘real’ recipe using the cowboy candy. This week I am implementing them

into an appetizer/spread. But let’s not rule out placing these delights in potato

salad, deviled eggs, hamburgers and even jalapeno bread!

In this column I have provided the recipes for both the candied jalapenos and

the appetizer spread. If you don’t have time to do the jalapenos from scratch

you will certainly find many companies that sell them. In Kansas you will find

the ‘Campbell Garden Peppers’ and in Missouri I’ve located several, google them

on line and they will surface. In mid-Missouri check at Cockrill’s Mercantile,

in Columbia there’s a label called Papa Hart’s Pickles that produces the candy

jalapenos. In the Branson area visit Danna’s BBQ for candied jalapenos. It’s a

start at least!

Pile these yummies on a sandwich or on top of a bowl of chili for a swing of sweet

versus savory. As I stated earlier you are going to find a million uses for them. Oh

yes, be sure and choose the ‘heat’ level of preference. Jalapeno’s come in ‘hot’

and mild. I’m a weenie and I usually use mild. Have fun playing with the two

recipes and I’ll wrap up the column a bit early so we have plenty of space for the

two recipes together.

Don’t forget my culinary cruise in March 2015, visit the website www.

thecovereddish.com and look over all the details. I ‘promise’ you an exciting and

fun trip. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Candied Jalapeno/Bacon Spread on Pepper Sliders

1 1/2 (12 ounces total) cream cheese

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/4 cup chopped candied jalapenos, measure before chopping

4 strips cooked bacon, drained and crumbled

1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt

Yellow, green, red or orange peppers cut into 8 squares each

Soften cream cheese and stir in all remaining ingredients. Allow to set overnight

in refrigerator. Set out a few minutes before serving to allow cheese to soften.

Using a tablespoon scoop or other similar tool place a scoop of the jalapeno/

bacon spread on the pepper square.

This is a very colorful presentation and a good solution to additional

carbohydrates found in chips and crackers. Consider using peppers that match

the season like green, yellow and orange for fall and red and green for Christmas.

The spread could also be made into a basic cheese ball. Other dips and spreads

will work equally as well as the Jalapeno/Bacon on the pepper sliders.

Candied Jalapenos can be found in gourmet stores or you can easily make the

Jalapeno Turn-Arounds featured below. The longer the candied jalapenos set the

better they taste!

Cowboy Candy-Candied Jalapenos

(Pickled Jalapeno Turn-Arounds)

16 ounces of mild pickled jalapenos, drained & rinsed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 cups sugar

4 ounces roasted red peppers

Yield: 2 Half Pints

For canning purposes wash all jars ahead of time. Place jar flats in a pan of boiling

water. Set out tongs and clean towels.

Drain and rinse jalapenos in a colander. Place red peppers and jalapenos in two

half pint jars, packing within 1/2 an inch of the rim. Place the lemon juice and

sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. (Turn water on under the jar flats.) Cook

until a candy thermometer reads soft ball stage. Immediately pour into each jar

covering completely. You must work fast as this will get extremely sticky. Seal

each jar tightly.

For a hot water bath place the jars in a large stockpot and cover with cold water

about 1-2 inches from the top of the jars. Turn heat on medium/medium-high

and bring the pot to a full boil. Boil for only 10 minutes. Remove jars with tongs

from water bath and allow to cool. You should hear the jars ‘ping’ as they seal.

Should you use fresh jalapenos, (approximately 1 1/2 pounds) be sure and wear

rubber gloves. When the sugar and lemon juice come to a boil add the jalapenos

and fresh red peppers cooking on a simmer for about five minutes. If you cook

too long they get too soft.

If I were using fresh peppers I would consider adding about 1/2 teaspoon of

celery seed and about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric to the mixture.

Allow the jalapenos to set for at least 2 weeks before they are used. The longer

they stay in the sugar base the better they get.

These can be implemented into many dishes from grilling to potato salads and

appetizers.

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