Beefy, cheesy, taco-tasting poppers that are deep-fried and delicious... what more could you ask for in an appetizer? Cilantro-Lime Crema adds the perfect amount of balancing brightness, making these poppers something to remember. We recommend baking the jalapenos before frying them to cook them all the way through and give them that irresistible tender texture.
16 jalapeño chiles
1/2 pound 97% lean, 3% fat ground beef
1 (8-oz.) pouch taco skillet sauce (such as Frontera)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Starting about 1/4-inch from stem, split jalapeños lengthwise, keeping halves intact near stem. Remove seeds with a spoon, and discard. Place jalapeños in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until slightly tender, about 15 minutes.
Heat a medium non stick skillet over medium. Add beef, taco sauce, and taco seasoning to hot skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and stir in cream cheese and colby-Jack. Cook, stirring often, until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a large Dutch oven; heat over medium to 350°F.
Fill each jalapeño with about 1/2 tablespoon of the beef mixture (or enough to fill jalapeño); secure ends together with a wooden pick.
Stir together cornmeal, flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir together buttermilk, whole milk, and egg in a small bowl. Whisk buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined.
Submerge 5 or 6 filled jalapeños in cornmeal mixture, and carefully place in hot oil. Fry jalapeños until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. (Adjust heat to maintain 350°F while frying.) Place on a wire rack, and immediately sprinkle with coarse salt. Repeat with remaining filled jalapeños. Serve with Lime-and-Cilantro Crema.
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