Jalapeño Popper Chili Is The Way To Eat The Classic Appetizer In A Hearty Bowl

When you think about jalapeño poppers, your mind likely goes to the popular bar food and appetizer that's stuffed with cheese and bacon and then broiled or fried. They're a cheesy and zesty handheld starter that works well for any party food spread, but we've got a recipe that turns the classic appetizer into a complete and hearty meal. It's Tasting Table's creamy cheesy jalapeño popper chili from recipe developer Leah Maroney — and you'll need a bowl and spoon to enjoy it.

As you might imagine, the soup uses some of the same ingredients that make up the appetizer version of jalapeño poppers. You'll need plenty of fresh jalapeño peppers, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and bacon, of course. Then there are the less-assuming ingredients that help turn it into a complete meal including chicken breasts marinated in lime juice and sazón seasoning that you might use to spice up rice, heavy cream, scallions, and some cilantro to add herbiness. It's a complete meal on its own, but consider pairing it with homemade garlic bread to soak up the cheesy and herby broth at the bottom of the bowl.

Roast and skin the jalapeños before adding to the creamy chili

It's got chili in the name, but it's not quite the same as a pot of Texas red chili with beans. For instance, you'll need to bake the chicken and roast the jalapeños in the oven before the two ingredients go into the pot. You'll remove the skins of the roasted jalapeños, but it's up to you whether or not you want to also rid the seeds or keep them for a slightly spicier chili. The bacon is also cooked first, and that flavor-packed rendered fat is used to saute the onions for the base of the chili.

We'll let you check out the recipe for the full breakdown, but here are some ways to switch it up. There are nutritional differences between chicken breasts and thighs, but the latter is a good alternative if you want more tender, fatty chicken in the bowl. Or skip poultry and use crumbled sausage in the chili instead. Our recipe doesn't use beans, but if you prefer a classic version or need more protein, mix in beans too. The recipe depends on jalapeños, but if you like a spicy dish, swap in Serrano peppers which pack more heat. You can also garnish with sweet pickled jalapeños to temper the heat or a dash of hot sauce to kick it a notch. Then, top it all with shredded cheese and bacon to finish off this reinvented chili.