Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Steak Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

So; my wife is on a business trip to Mexico, leaving me completely unsupervised for a week.  For the first time in a very long time, I found myself in my kitchen with NOTHING to do and NOBODY to cook for.  I was hungry.  What to do.......

"Why not cook up some of my favorite bacon wrapped stuffed chilis," I asked myself?  "OH, you've got those two beef tenderloin medallions that you need to cook today," I reminded myself.  What the heck?  Fire up the grill and cook them all!

You Will Need:
  • Chili Peppers (I like Anaheim peppers for this)
  • Melting Cheese (Cream Cheese, or Cheddar is fine but NOT "Whipped" Cream Cheese)
  • Bacon
  • Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • 10oz Filet Mignon or Beef Tenderloin Medallion 
  • Preheat Oven to 375
  • Light up a chimney full of charcoal on your grill

I make "Jalapeno Poppers" a hundred different ways.  I've stuffed them with Blue Cheese, Cheddar, Cheese Curds, Cream Cheese, you name it.  I've also used a variety of different peppers, not always Jalapenos.  In this case I chose Anaheim peppers because they're bigger.  You could use two old fashioned Jalapeno peppers though, if you wanted.
Slice off the caps and remove as much of the white pithy membrane as you feel is "appropriate."  Remember, the heat in any chili is in the membrane, NOT the seeds!  This is always a balancing act because you want room for the cheese, but you also want to leave some heat so, prep accordingly.
Stuff your chili with cheese.  This time, I used some fresh cheese curds because, well, because I had some and because they melt like crazy, and because they're super delish... Use whatever you want, but do NOT use "Whipped" (or spreadable) cream cheese!  It expands under heat and will leak out of the chili and make a mess.  Plug the end of your chili with a wad of bacon because... bacon is delicious and it will keep the cheese from leaking out!
Finally, wrap the entire chili with a slice of bacon (or two, depending on how large your chili is), grease a pan, and slide them into the oven for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Now, turn your attention to the steak.  It almost seems "criminal" to take a beautiful 10oz filet like this one, and to pound the living crap out of it, but... great "omelets" involve broken eggs, so, take a deep breath and fortify yourself.  You'll need a layer of plastic and some water for lubrication.  Spritz some water on a plastic bag, place the plastic on top of the steak, and gently pound the steak with a mallet, starting in the center and working your way out toward the edges.  TAKE YOUR TIME!  If you pound your meat too aggressively, you'll tear the edges and NOBODY wants that!  Just keep things lubricated, take your time, be gentle, and pound away!  Your patience will be rewarded... :)

You should end up with a nice flat piece of steak that resembles a large flour tortilla.  Excellent!  Season it with a sprinkle of salt, and a shake of Cayenne pepper.
Remove your chili from the oven and place it (while it's still warm) at one end of your "tortilla."  Gently (but tightly) roll it up, and use a couple of wooden toothpicks to pin up the ends.
Place it on the counter to rest while you tend to your fire.  Did you remember to turn off the oven?  Good. This would also be a magnificent time to open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and to let it breathe.  You'll need it.  Later...
Dump your coals into half of your pit.  I used an old half-charred hunk of oak wood as a "fence."  The idea is to create an area of indirect heat, as well as a super-hot spot of direct heat.
Once everything is pre-heated (give your pit 15 minutes alone with the lid closed), lay your steak roll on the indirect side.  I know, I know, there is fire on both sides in the picture... but as soon as I closed the lid and dampered down the air supply, things settled down.  Close the lid and leave your roll in there, undisturbed for about 12 minutes.
When you lift the lid, use some long tongs to move the roll to the hot side!  Roll it around over there and give it two to three minutes on each side.  You want a nice char, but you don't want to incinerate it, so be careful!
Take the roll off the heat and wrap it in foil to rest while you get your plate ready.  Earlier, I simmered a small carton of mushrooms in half a stick of butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of Burgundy I had leftover, for about an hour.  It's time these two met!  Pour a massive glass of the Cab-Sav and get ready, baby...
I dumped a scoop of the shrooms onto a plate and then unrolled and sliced the steak roll into two halves.  The cheese was gooey, the bacon was crispy, and the steak was perfect!  Being "unsupervised," I was tempted to just pick up the roll with my hand and eat it like a "Boss!"  I didn't... mostly because I didn't want greasy smudges all over my wine glass.

Sadly, it was at this moment that I kicked myself for foolishly not thinking about a sauce... Perhaps a Hollandaise?  Bearnaise?  White Queso? Maybe a Green-Chili sauce?  Oh well.  It was pretty damned delicious as it was!

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