Monday, June 1, 2009

Chicken Poppers

Chicken Poppers
12-15 good sized jalapeno peppers
2-3 marinated chicken breasts (recipe below)
Chicken Marinade
1/2 cup fresh orange juice or 1/4 orange juice concentrate (I keep a can of this in the freezer at all times and use a spoonful or two at a time for marinades, etc.)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or a couple of tablespoons of Real Lemon)
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard (I had spicy brown mustard this time, so that's what I used)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or whatever you have on hand. I guess my point is, don't let the lack of one ingredient keep you from trying a recipe!)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (a couple of teaspoons of minced garlic from the fridge)
1 TB Italian seasoning
Salt and fresh cracked black peppercorns to taste
Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces that are the right size to fit in a half a pepper. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a large, lidded container and toss with chicken to cook. Refrigerate at least a couple of hours.

Marinate chicken several hours or overnight (see the marinade recipe above). Halve the peppers lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and the membranes. (I bought the cutest little spoon a the Asian market in Baltimore that turned out to be the perfect size and shape for doing this!)
Fit a piece of marinated chicken into a pepper half and wrap with a slice of bacon, securing in with a toothpick. The trouble with having such an imprecise recipe is that it almost never works out that you have a proportional amount of all your ingredients, so you generally end up with some miscellaneous leftovers. But hey! Its okay! You know why? Because that little piece of bacon is going to be a tasty snack while I'm cooking the poppers, the leftover chicken will taste great on my salad for lunch tomorrow, and the jalapeƱos will get diced up and put some kick into my Spicy Sloppy Joes tomorrow night! Its all good, just find something to do with the leftovers. I do!
Now, if I had a functional grill at the moment, I would grill these, low and slow until the chicken is done and the bacon is nice and browned. However, in the winter, and now that my grill is basically a planter, I precook the chicken about halfway in a skillet before stuffing it into the peppers, then cook the poppers on a stovetop griddle. The sides of the bacon doesn't get as done as the rest this way, but the hubs doesn't mind.

Spicy and savory at the same time, these little snackers just fly off the grill and you never have enough, so make a bunch!

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