Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
24 large jalapeños peppers (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
½ teaspoon chili powder, plus more for garnish
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt, to taste
1 to 2 scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts
1 ½ teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 ounces queso quesadilla, shredded
2 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
1 ounce cheddar cheese, shredded
24 slices bacon, use your favorite brand!
1 jar large marge classic queso
1. Heat the oven to 425°F|220°C.
2. Wash the jalapeños and cut the tops of them off, lengthwise. Try to cut as little off as possible and set the tops aside. Use a small spoon to scoop the seeds and membrane out of the pepper. You may want to wear gloves for this part. If you don't, don't touch your eyes for a while–trust me.
3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add the corn kernels and cook until they start to get a nice dark brown char on them, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds, until the spices have toasted and become fragrant and the corn is super charred. Toss the corn with the cilantro and scallion and set it aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, mix all four cheeses together in a bowl. Use your hands to really mush everything together and make sure it's evenly combined, then add it to the corn mixture.
5. Stuff each pepper with a generous amount of the cheesy corn filling. Top it with it's corresponding top and wrap the pepper with the bacon slice so that it's completely covered in bacon.
6. Place a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place each pepper on the rack. Make sure the tops are facing up to prevent cheese spillage (spoiler alert: there will be cheese spillage no matter what, that's okay).
7. Bake until the bacon is cooked through and browned, about 35 to 40 minutes. Place the jalapeños on a platter and, while they are still hot, spoon about 1 tablespoon of cold queso on top of them. The heat will melt the queso perfectly over the tops of the peppers. Garnish with a sprinkle of chili powder and cilantro.