No sooner had we survived the Great Snow Dusting of 2014, than winter came knocking again in the Deep South with the second wave of snow, sleet, freezing rain and further south friends got cold, cold rain. Now we’re waiting for the polar express to dump a third round of winter wonderland that portends to set “historical records”. Oh, goody. Take into consideration this doesn’t account for the multiple waves of frigid air that have ridden the Alberta Clipper all the way down here and plunged our temps into single digit ice chest, turn your fingers blue, aren’t we having fun weather.
So what sounds good to cheer you up, warm you up and fill you tummy when you’re being battered by the trifecta of Old Man Winter. Comfort Foods, of course.
In our house that’s can cover a wide range, but since I’m married to a native New Mexican that often involves southwestern food, green chiles and peppers.
So recently when I saw a recipe for a jalapeno popper flavored grilled cheesed sandwich my taste buds walked down memory lane to that guilty little secret pleasure I used to get at a certain fast food restaurant. I also saw room to develop a recipe into a Panini I felt had that similar jalapeño popper taste with the berry sauce. I also did a little fat reduction to the recipe. Just a note: If you don’t have a Panini press or maker it would be acceptable to use a griddle or skillet and grill the sandwich.
Jalapeno Popper Panini with Cherry Berry Sauce
4 fresh jalapenos roasted and skinned removed
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
3 – 4 green onions, washed and minced ( I pulsed mine in a mini food processor)
Pinch of kosher salt to taste
Sliced Colby Jack Cheese
4 – 6 tablespoons cherry preserves
1. Roast the jalapenos on the grill. Then place them in a paper bag or zip lock bag and allow the peppers to rest for about 10 minutes.
Although these are Hatch chiles, this gives you an idea how your jalapenos should look as they roast. Roasting peppers is pretty much the same for most kinds.
2. After the peppers have set in a bag for about 10 minutes, remove them from the bag one at a time and remove the skin from a jalapeno under running cold water. For mild palettes, remove the veins and seeds from the peppers to removed some of the heat from the pepper.
Remove the skin under running cold water. Be sure to wash your hands after handling peppers and avoid touching the eye area while handling peppers.
This is how the jalapenos look after they have been roasted and the skins are removed.
3. Cream the softened reduced fat cream cheese. Add a pinch of kosher salt to taste and mix well. Add the minced green onions and combine well.
5. Lightly spread softened butter on the outside of the bread slices.
6. Turn bread over and spread the side of one piece of bread for each sandwich with the cream cheese mixture.
Spread one piece of bread with the cream cheese mixture.
7. Add the Colby Jack cheese onto the top of the cream cheese mixture (about 1 – 1/2 slices per sandwich).
Add the Colby Jack cheese slices
8. Next, add about 2 jalapenos per sandwich. Lay these on top of the cheese slices.
The next layer should be the jalapeno peppers.
9. Next, take the cherry preserves and place them in a microwave proof dish and melt them in the microwave for about 20 – 30 seconds. Then, using a spoon drizzle the melted cherry preserves over the top the the jalapenos.
Drizzle the melted cherry preserved over the jalapenos.
10. Place the remaining slice of bread that has been lightly buttered onto the top of the sandwich (butter side up). Place sandwiches in the Panini maker and grill for 3 minutes. Remove from maker and served hot.
© 2014 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.