Every once in a while I get a bad case of what I call “appetizer envy.” It involves being jealous of anyone who either hosts dinner parties on a regular basis, or has a big enough family that an appetizer course is just a matter of fact. The reality is that when you’re cooking for two, there are just so few occasions that call for making multi-course meals—and a life without the occasional appetizer indulgence is just a sad life indeed. When appetizer envy strikes, I either drag my husband to a restaurant and force him to order five apps to split between the two of us for dinner…or, I whip up a batch of these baked black-bean jalapeño poppers. They always get the job done.
Most appetizers are generally so unhealthy that you don’t want to be eating them in dinner-sized quantities. Not true for these jalapeño poppers. Not only are they baked rather than fried, but they’re stuffed with black beans for a healthy dose of protein. Fresh corn adds juicy sweetness to cut the spice; the panko bread crumbs are mixed with smoked paprika and sprinkled over the tops to give a smoky umami crunch. The exact spice level will vary greatly depending on how hot your peppers are, but I noticed that much of the heat was toned down after roasting. If you are very spice-averse, you can make these with mini sweet bell peppers instead of the jalapeños, though you may have to increase the cooking time slightly as they tend to have thicker skins.
- 12 jalapeno peppers
- 4 ears corn
- 1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained
- 6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese grated
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350°F. Wearing rubber gloves, cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Place them, cut side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cut the corn kernels off the ears of corn and toss kernels in a large bowl with the black beans, Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Stuff the filling into the empty cavity of each pepper. It's okay if they overflow a little.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the panko, smoked paprika and salt. Sprinkle over the peppers so that they are evenly coated.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and oozing and the poppers are golden. Serve hot.