Grilled Anaheim Chili Poppers

I have an unnatural fear of the barbeque. It stems from inexperience but also the classic Hubs and Foodie “Great Christmas Turkey Fire Incident” back in 2007.

We still point fingers at each other and neither of us take the full blame for almost burning down our block on Christmas Day.

Here’s what went wrong…

Hubs wanted to grill the Christmas turkey. I wanted to use my stand-by Martha Stewart recipe for the oven, which bastes the turkey in butter and wine and cheesecloth.

Hubs said we could do it on the barbeque.

I know I told him that was a bad idea.

He swears I never said that.

So there we were 30 minutes into cooking, both of us upstairs on the third floor getting ready when I look out the window and see a gigantic black cloud of smoke.

“Hubs, the barbeque is smoking quite a bit, come take a look”, I say.

“It’s a barbeque, dear, that’s what they do.” he replies.

“Should there be 2 foot flames shooting out of the back so close to the wood fence?” I ask.

Turns out wine and grease-soaked cheese cloth is quite flammable.

That’s when a scene straight out of a bad movie occurred. Hubs ran down in his robe to tend to our grill which was now fully immersed in flames. The flames were about a foot from the neighbors living room wall.

The only thing Hubs could find to fight the fire was an OXO 2 cup measure, which he ran back and forth from the kitchen to refill. We were getting nowhere fast. This scene went on for what felt like an eternity.

In the end, we did put out the flames. About 30 seconds after we realized there was a hose two feet away.

The bird was black and destroyed. The grill was never the same. Hubs searched around town for an open grocery store, while I cried. We decided to salvage the bird by cutting off the blackened parts and putting it in the crock pot. Believe it or not, we’ve never had so many compliments on cooked poultry as that day.

Since the “incident” we’ve never had to host Christmas Day again. I have also never been thrilled to get close to the grill.

These poppers are easy and I make them up ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. We find that they are a fabulous appetizer at a BBQ. This recipe comes from my book club friend Cyn who made these last month.  I liked them so much I snuck back into her kitchen to polish them off, pretending to “clear the dishes”.

Meanwhile, the Foodie kitchen remodel is underway and we have a fire-extinguisher very close by…

Grilled Anaheim Chili Poppers

Cyn uses jalapenos, I used the larger anaheim chili which is growing in Papa Foodie’s garden. You can use either just double the amount of jalapenos for this recipe.

1 dozen anaheim chilies, sliced length-wise and seeded

8 oz light cream cheese

1 cup, shredded, extra sharp cheddar

4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

the juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

This is a great do-ahead appetizer. I make these up in the morning and they stay well in the fridge until time to grill.

Halve and seed the peppers. I set them aside on a rimmed cookie sheet. In a mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Fill each halved pepper. Plastic wrap the sheet of stuffed peppers and keep in fridge until time to grill.

Set the grill to medium heat. We use a grill sheet for easier cleaning. You could use any variety of grill pans and possibly foil if necessary.

Cook the peppers, skin down for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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