I just love a challenge, especially in the kitchen. So when I saw that there was a group called the Crazy Ingredient Challenge, I had to learn more. The concept is pretty simple, each month, the group votes on two ingredients, and then you make something with them. I missed last months, since I apparently don't know how to read a calendar, but I'm in for this month, and the two ingredients are bacon and pumpkin.
So, I know that this is some what blasphemous, but I actually don't like pumpkin that much. I mean, it's fine and all, but we need to calm it down with this pumpkin spice everything obsession. First, pumpkin spice doesn't taste like pumpkin, it tastes like preservatives. Second, it's not even that awesome. I mean, pumpkin pie is delicious and all, but chill, it's just squash. Bacon, on the other hand, now there's some good eats.
Because I don't love sweets or pumpkin spice anything, I thought I'd go in much more of a savory direction with this. I got a TON of peppers in my farm share, of all different kinds, so I decided to make Bacon Wrapped Pumpkin Jalapeno Poppers. Not going to lie, this is probably my best idea to date.
Bacon Wrapped Pumpkin Jalapeno Poppers:
1/2 Sugar Pumpkin, Roasted (or buy a can of pumpkin, just make sure it's completely plain, and not pre-flavored)
1 8 oz Package Cream Cheese (I used 1/3 less fat, but you can use whatever you usually use)
6 Slices Bacon
6-8 Peppers (Since mine were from the farm share, they're not all jalapenos, but if I was going to buy specifically for this, I'd get all jalapenos. Make sure that they are fat enough to really hold some stuffing)
To roast the pumpkin, pre-heat the oven to 375. VERY carefully cut it in half (use a very sharp knife and lots of caution!), scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, and place into a pan, cut side down. Mine was pretty big, so I had to cut it into a few pieces to get it to fit. Put a little bit of water in the pan, to help it steam. Cook for about 45 minutes, until it can be easily pierced by a fork (this is my preferred squash roasting method).
While it's cooking, cut all the peppers in half and scoop the seeds and ribs out. Then, wash your hands about 100 times before touching ANYTHING, unless you like getting burned.
After the pumpkin is ready, mix it with the cream cheese. I didn't add any other kinds of seasonings to this because I figured the bacon and peppers would help me out. I was right.
Blob some pumpkin cream cheese into the peppers, then wrap with some bacon. I cut my bacon into pieces, because the peppers really weren't that big. If I did this again, I would definitely secure with toothpicks, because they kind of fell apart. Bake at 375 until the bacon is at your desired level of done - they could also be grilled, if you're into that.
These would be a great party snack, or a nice addition to your tailgate. They're a little bit labor intensive, but not too bad, and SO tasty that it is definitely worthwhile.
Look at what my friends made!!