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Pimento cheese, a spicy cheese spread made from mayonnaise, cheddar, and pimento peppers, makes an ingenious filling for these bacon-wrapped poppers from the West Texas-based chef Madison Collins.

We make this recipe year round as a quick snack or appetizer, but it’s also portable enough for barbecues and camp cookouts (so long as you bring your Field Skillet along!)

 

Photo: Travis Perkins

Field Notes:

1.

You can buy prepared pimento cheese at most grocery stores in the American south, (and some above the Mason-Dixon line as well). Our favorite store-bought brand is from the Texas-based company Price's, and Trader Joe's makes a decent pimento cheese as well.

2.

Even better, make your own pimento cheese! Our go-to recipe comes from the Raleigh-based Ashley Christensen (its secret: toasted peppercorns), and we love chef Sean Brock’s pickle-y version as well.

3.

For a vegetarian version of this recipe, skip the bacon and roast the poppers in a 425°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.

Recipe: Jalapeño-Pimento Cheese Poppers

Yield: 6 servings (12 poppers)

Instructions

1.

Working in batches, warm the bacon slices in a No.10 (or larger) Field Skillet over medium-low heat until they’ve rendered some of their fat and begin to lightly brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate and repeat with the remaining slices, pouring out any rendered fat between batches.

2.

Slice each jalapeño in half lengthwise, then remove the seeds. Fill each pepper with pimento cheese (do not overfill). Wrap each pepper with a slice of par-cooked bacon and secure with a toothpick.

3.

Heat a No.10 (or larger) Field Skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add the poppers, cut side down, and cook until the bacon is well browned and crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip the poppers over, lower the head to medium, and continue cooking until the bacon is crisp on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Serve.


Seasoning Rating: Safe

When cooking bacon—or in this case, par-cooking to render fat—keep an eye on the heat to avoid overcooking or burning the bacon, and to make sure it won't stick to your skillet. You'll know your bacon strips are ready to flip when they start to release from the cooking surface with little resistance.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.