Beer Battered Bacon/Pimiento Cheese

Jalapeño Poppers with Cilantro-Lime Crema

By Chef Jill Aker-Ray

12 fresh jalapeños

10 ounces Queen Charlotte pimiento cheese

(Very cold) I used jalapeño flavor

12 slices bacon


1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp seasoned salt

12 oz cold beer

3 TBSP cold water



1/2 cup Greek yogurt, Mexican crema

or sour cream

3 TBSP buttermilk or ranch dressing

1/2 lime-juice and zest

Chopped fresh cilantro (to taste)

1.) Cover a plate with paper towel and place

bacon slices next to one another on plays-cover

with paper towel to avoid splatters!

2.) Microwave until bacon is partially cooked

But NOT crispy (still pliable to wrap with)

3.) Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

4.) Whisk together all six ingredients for batter and

Set aside

5.) Make crema and set aside

6.) Cut a slit lengthwise in the pepper,

Using gloved hands. Make sure not to cut off

the stem. Remove most seeds and ribs of pepper

(To tame the heat!)

7.) Stuff each pepper with about 1 oz pimiento cheese

(per pepper), making sure pepper can close.

8.) Carefully wrap bacon slice around pepper and secure

with toothpicks

9.) Dip peppers ( one by one) into batter, holding the stem

allowing excess batter to drop off.

10.) Place into 350 degree oil and fry

for 4-5 minutes or until crispy golden brown.

11.) Remove from oil, lay in paper towels.

And remove the toothpicks.

12.) Served with the crema as a dipping sauce!

Pimento Cheese Arancini
Makes 16 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1 cup Arborio rice

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

¼ teaspoon coarse-ground pepper

½ cup dry white wine

3 cups warm chicken stock

1¼ cup water, divided

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

¾ cups Queen Charlotte bacon pimento cheese

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups finely ground Panko breadcrumbs (use food processor)

Oil, for frying


1 cup pepper jelly

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the rice, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not let rice brown. Add the wine and cook until wine is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the chicken stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly so the rice releases its starch. Continue to add stock until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in ¾ cup water, ¼ cup at a time, until the rice is tender, and the risotto is creamy and thick. Cooking time is about 18 minutes. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and place in the refrigerator to cool, at least 1 hour.

When the rice mixture is cool, remove it from the refrigerator, and stir in the egg, egg yolk, pimento cheese and Parmesan. Form balls of about 2 tablespoons of rice mixture. Store in the refrigerator until ready to bread and cook, up to 1 day.

In a shallow bowl, whisk ¼ cup flour with ¼ cup water to form a smooth paste, then whisk in an additional ¼ cup water to form a slurry.

Roll the rice balls in the flour slurry, then transfer to breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs to coat, shaking off any excess. Transfer the balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rice mixture.

Fill a large saucepan about 4-inches deep with oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to about 350 degrees F. Use a slotted spoon to drop 4 rice balls into the preheated oil and fry until very golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and lightly season with salt.

To make the sauce, whisk the jelly, mustard and vinegar until smooth. Serve the rice balls with pepper jelly dipping sauce.

Queen Charlotte Jalapeno Stuffed Meatloaf


· 2 pounds ground chuck (80/20)

· 1 cup panko bread crumbs

· ¼ cup diced jalapenos

· 2 eggs

· 1 ½ tablespoons fajita seasoning

· ½ tablespoon salt

· 1 pound Queen Charlotte’s Jalapeno Pimento Cheese

· ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce


· Combine all the ingredients except cheese.

· On a sheet pan that is sprayed with pan release 2/3 of the meat mixture and form a rectangular loaf.

· Press in center a “well” large enough to accommodate the cheese.

· Fill the well with the cheese.

· Use the remaining meat to cover the well.

· Be sure to press the edges making sure not to let the cheese will run out

· Bake in oven at 375* for 60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165*. Let rest for ten minutes before cutting.

· Serve and top with salsa.