Sunday! Sunday! Funday! Funday!
Time to start thinking about the week ahead, get our menu and meal planning on.
And since this upcoming week includes, you know, the bestest holiday of the year, we should start to think about planning the bestest meal of the year. No?
A. and I don’t entertain much, but when we do, I always seem to end up adhering to the same set of rules. Here’s a sampling:
RULE #17 OF ENTERTAINING – Completely forget about the drinks and appetizers until the last minute.
RULE #23b OF ENTERTAINING – Never leave enough time to properly dry your hair before the guests arrive.
I am determined to break some rules this year.
The thing that I really love about these particular jalapeño poppers is that the bonkers-delicious sweet potato and caramelized onion stuffing can be prepared days in advance. And the poppers themselves can be assembled hours before heating and serving.
Leaving you with an extra minute or two for breaking RULE #23b!
I’m thinking this may be a rule breaking-inspired holiday…
Sweet Potato-Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers
22 large jalapeños
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into thirds, boiled and mashed (I prepare my sweet potato purée by peeling the potatoes and chopping each into 3 pieces, just to allow them to cook faster. I then place the pieces into a pot of boiling water, cooking until fork-tender, approximately 20 minutes. Once cooked, simply remove, drain and mash the sweet potato with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Two large sweet potatoes will yield approximately 2-2 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes.)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. buttermilk
2 c. Manchego cheese, grated
To prepare the stuffing for the jalapeños, heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium flame. Add the onions and cook slowly, stirring frequently, until translucent and extremely fragrant, approximately 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for several minutes more. Remove from heat and place with the mashed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk, cumin, black pepper and salt, and set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the chiles by first setting them down on a level surface to find their tops, then slicing off their tops horizontally, as if you were carving a canoe. Carefully clean out the seed columns of each chile and set onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once you have hollowed out all of your chiles, stuff them generously with the sweet potato mixture, then top generously with grated cheese.
Note that the key to successfully preparing these jalapeño poppers is to make sure that they bake standing up straight, otherwise, the cheese will fall off, the popper tops will stick to the bottom of the pan, and you’ll end up with a huge, hot (albeit delicious) mess. I actually used the ‘canoe-top’ pieces that I trimmed off of the jalapeños, set flat on the baking sheet between the poppers as they baked, to prop them upright. Any oven-proof item will work, even a rack, just make sure that they bake upright.
As I mentioned above, the poppers can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 6 hours before you’re ready to bake them off and serve them. When you’re ready, bake the poppers for approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.
YIELD: 22 large jalapeño poppers