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Some Like it Hot: Grilled Jalapenos

I like spice. Peppers and curries - the hotter the better. So when I stumbled upon the Jalapeño Roaster at Williams Sonoma, I flipped. My hubby (another heat freak) and I have been using it ever since. The concept is simple: hollow out and fill fresh jalapeños with a stuffing, turn the grill on, and wait for the best jalapeño poppers you've ever tasted. I serve them as an appetizer, on game days (they're a fun tailgate addition), or as a side dish. A few tips: the roaster is built for large peppers. The smaller Jalapeños just fall through the hole, so be sure to get the biggest peppers you can find (I found the best ones at my farmer's market, but most Latin markets have them, too). If you're stuck with the smaller guys, you can make a little collar for them out of tin foil, which will prop them up and prevent them from falling through (thank you to my inventive husband). Finally, hollowing out jalapeños is a thankless job so be sure to wear rubber gloves and buy a jalapeño corer knife; it saves hours of time and is worth the investment if you cook with a lot of jalapeños.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. olive oil

Salt, to taste

1 lb. fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed, or ground pork

18 large jalapeño peppers

4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated

Directions:

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook, crumbling with the back of a wooden spoon, until the meat is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the chorizo mixture to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare a grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat.

Cut 1/4 inch off the top of each jalapeño pepper. Using a thin knife, hollow out the centers of the peppers, removing the seeds and ribs; do not cut through the flesh.

Transfer the chorizo to a small bowl, add the cheese and stir to combine. Using your fingers, stuff the center of each pepper with 1 to 2 Tbs. of the chorizo mixture, pressing it down to fill the entire pepper. Place the filled peppers upright in a jalapeño pepper roaster. (Any leftover filling can be used for nachos or scrambled eggs.)

Place the pepper roaster on the grill over indirect heat, cover the grill and roast until the peppers are tender, 18 to 25 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a paring knife into the side of a pepper; if it pierces easily, the peppers are done. Interior peppers will be more crisp than those along the outside of the roaster.

Transfer the pepper roaster to a platter and serve the jalapeño poppers immediately. Makes 18 jalapeño poppers.

Note: You can easily make these vegetarian by stuffing them only with cheese - I like to use two cheeses to make it more interesting.


Makes 18 peppers; recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma