18 to 24 large, fresh jalapeños
1 smoked chicken breast (precooked), finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Original Seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1 lb. bacon (either thin- or thick-sliced)
Sturdy round toothpicks
Slice each jalapeño lengthwise, from tip of pepper to below stem, almost in half so that you can open it like a clam. Remove seeds and veins, using a small melon scooper or spoon. Wash jalapeños, making sure to wash away any remaining seeds. Combine chopped chicken breast, onion, and cilantro in a medium-size bowl. Add cream cheese, seasonings, and lime-juice (and pecans, if desired), and mix well; set aside.
Remove 9 to 12 pieces of bacon from package, cut pieces in half, (each length of bacon will wrap 2 peppers), and set aside. (Reserve remaining bacon for another use.) Using a spoon, fill each jalapeno with stuffing, and squeeze the pepper closed. Scrape off excess stuffing, then wrap a length of bacon around pepper, and secure it by inserting a toothpick all the way through. (Any remaining stuffing makes an excellent dip.)
Refrigerate peppers (overnight, if necessary) until ready to cook. Prepare charcoal fire. (Peppers may also be deep-fried, if you prefer.) When ready, grill peppers, turning often, about 10 minutes, or until bacon looks done, then serve. Yield: 18 to 24 appetizers.
From the May 2005 issue.