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Jalapeno Poppers


* 24 small jalapeño chilis
* 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup grated Cheddar (4 oz.)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1 cup plain bread crumbs
* Salt and pepper


Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise with a paring knife and remove seeds. Leave stems intact.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, Cheddar and cilantro, and mix well. Fill half of jalapeños generously with cheese mixture; top each stuffed chili half with an empty chili half.

Warm 2 inches of oil in a large skillet over mediumhigh heat until it reaches 375°F.

Arrange 3 bowls on a counter. Place flour in one, eggs in another and bread crumbs in third. One at a time, dip chilis in flour, then eggs, letting excess drip off. Roll each chili in bread crumbs to coat. (Chilis can be made several hours ahead up to this point. Cover and refrigerate.)

Fry a few peppers at a time in hot oil until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Return oil to 375°F before beginning next batch. Serve warm.

Makes 8 Servings