The Fort Restaurant’s Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed with Peanut Butter

January 15, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Appetizers | 38 Comments
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I pickled my own jalapenos…..

So I could make The Fort Restaurant’s Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed with Peanut Butter appetizer recipe.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk a little about the restaurant. The Fort Restaurant is a Denver landmark full of western culture, history, charm and western food. Do Rattlesnake, Quail Eggs Wrapped in Buffalo Sausage, Rocky Mountain Oysters and Bone Marrow get your attention?

For as long as I’ve lived here, (30 years) it’s been “the place” to take out-of-town guests for a taste of the Wild West. With its unique menu items and servers dressed like Kit Carson, The Fort reflects the years when trappers, settlers and Army explorers first traveled the Santa Fe Trail to our region.

It all began in 1961 when amateur historians Bay and Sam Arnold set out to build an adobe style home in the country west of Denver. They modeled the home after  Bent’s Fort which is  located in southeast Colorado which was built in 1833 and was famous as a fur trade destination.

Hiring a top Santa Fe architect and a contractor from Taos 22 men puddled over 80,000 mud and straw bricks, weighing 40 pounds each, to construct the main building. When the costs of construction exceeded the budget, the bank suggested a business be placed in the “fort”.  Sam turned to Bay and said, “You can cook!” and then she said to Sam, “Well, you can cook!” and The Fort Restaurant was born. Throw in the adoption of a Canadian black bear cub named “Sissy” who became a family pet and who was taught to belly up to the bar and drink with patrons, and the rest is history. The Fort has had its share of famous visitors, President Clinton hosted a G8 Summit Dinner there and Julia Child’s favorite dish was the Buffalo Tongue.

Both the Arnold’s have now passed on and their daughter Holly runs the restaurant. She has recently published a cookbook “Shinin’ Times at The Fort”. It’s a beautiful book full of house recipes, stories, celebrations and history about the restaurant. 

Sam Arnold got this appetizer recipe from Lucy Delgado who was a well-known New Mexican cook in the 1960’s. Sam thought they sounded “stranger than five-legged buffalo”, but gave them a try. He served them to Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s  Today Show. Gumbel couldn’t stop eating them. Arnold added them to the The Fort menu where they have been a mainstay appetizer since.

Let’s take a look.

Following the recipe from the cookbook, pickling jalapenos was an extremely easy task:

Fort-style Pickled Jalapenos:

  • 1 pound medium size fresh jalapenos (12 – 16)
  • 3 1/2 C. cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 C. water
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 1/2 t. sesame oil
  • 1 t. pickling spice
  • 3/4 C. coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 c. coarsely chopped carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, whole

Rinse the jalapenos and trim off the woody end from the stems. In a 4 – 6 quart stainless steel or enameled pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, sesame oil and pickling spice. Add the jalapenos, onion, carrot, and garlic. Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat.

While still hot, transfer the jalapenos and pickling juice to a sterilized 2 – 3 quart canning  jar or other glass container. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one week before using.

Making the Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed With Peanut Butter was even easier:

  • 1/4 C. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 2 T. Mango Chutney

Slice the pickled jalapenos in half lengthwise not quite all the way through, leaving the two halves attached at the stem end. Using a knife or spoon, remove and discard the seeds and ribs. In a small mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter chutney. Stuff the chiles with the peanut butter mixture and press the halves back together. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Now, there are rules to eating this appetizer.  Be sure to warn guests to put the whole chili (except the stem) in the mouth before chewing, to get 70 percent  peanut butter and 30 percent jalapeno.  A nibbler squeezes out the peanut butter which changes the percentages and makes it very hot indeed.

I served this at a happy hour gathering and we decided to go the civilized route and slice them.

The jalapenos stuffed with peanut butter were served alongside the snack-sized bag of Cheetos that Dan brought, which were quickly transferred to a cut glass serving bowl to avoid a party foul, the delicious hummus and vegetables that Teri brought and my cheese marinara dish.  I thought they made an excellent, tasty and conversation piece appetizer. Throw in a couple bottles of wonderful wine and a lively arguement discussion on our favorite fast food joints and fare; tacos, fries and Bic Macs… and you’ve got a great little party.  Be brave and consider bringing these to your upcoming Super Bowl gathering.

Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed With Peanut Butter….It’s What’s For An Appetizer!



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  1. OMG. How do I get on your party invite list?!?!? Peanut butter poppers AND Cheetos? That’s my idea of happy hour. Seriously, those pickled jalapenos sound divine and I confess to a weakness for Cheetos.

    Please post a link to the photo of you wearing the buffalo hat at The Fort. I just know you did it–please tell me I’m not the only one…

    • ok TOO funny Susan. I do-not, let me repeat do not..have a photo of me wearing one of those hats at The Fort. I did see them on the web site however. I love Cheetos. That was another argument/discussion for the evening…which is better, crunchy or puffy. 🙂 I’m a crunchy girl.

  2. The pickled jalapeno recipe seems like a bread and butter style brine? Many readers will look at this and “say what?” but since one of my favorite sandwiches is peanut butter, mayo, and dill pickle I’d dive right in to these babies.

    • Larry, I’m not much of a “pickler” but I assume you’re right..bread and butter style brine, and probably why I liked them so much. Peanut butter, mayo and dill pickle?????????? Blog it! 🙂

  3. I would have never thought of peppers and peanut butter together…intriguing.

    • Me either Russ! Everyone seemed to think it was delicious…me included.

  4. I am very impressed that you pickled your own peppers. The combination of peanut butter sounds very interesting and will have to try them. Is it just me or does pickling make them hotter.

    • ChileB, the pickling was a breeze! I’d do it again, and will do it again when I run out. I couldn’t agree more. Even with the seeds and veins removed, I was surprised with the heat. Wonder why it makes them hotter?

  5. We have never been to The Fort. Thanks for the introduction, Lea Ann.
    How impressive that you pickled your own jalapenos. I have never tried pickling. I know that my husband and son would love this appetizer. They love spicy and peanut butter.

    • It’s at the 470/285 interchange. Lovely setting amongst the Red Rock formations. The food gets mixed reviews, I’ve always been pleased when I go.

  6. I suggested to my hubby the other night that we pickle some of our jalapenos from the garden this summer. He reminded me that the more we pickle, the less we can roast stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon 🙂 I’m not a big fan of peanut butter, but I’d give these a try, and agree… these aren’t for nibbling, they’re for eating whole!

    • Well you must save some out for the cream cheese and bacon gig. But you really should try the pickling thing. So easy.

  7. First those crazy jalapenos -I would never have put the two flavors together, but I know you well enough to believe you when you say they are good. I will be trying your pickling recipe and I’ll stuff some to try this. Also, I want to go to The Fort and try a few of those adventurous offerings! Do they offer a sampler plate? Seriously funny seeing Cheetos in a crystal bowl (I’m with you on the crunchy choice).

    • They do have a sampler plate. I’m not sure what all is on it, and I think it’s called Mountain Man Sampler. Everyone seems to love those jalapenos. The pickling was a snap. Easy..easy..easy and what I love is that I have 4 jars in the fridge. Love those crunchy Cheetos. It’s a rare treat for me. 🙂

  8. I was there! And let me tell you, those peanut butter jalapenos were absolutely incredible! As a matter of fact, everything was great, even the cheetos were good. And the wine Bob served was perfect!

    • Thanks Teri…Both wines were amazing. I really liked those jalapenos too. And so easy to make. I couldn’t stop eating those Cheetos, I’m glad he didn’t bring a bigger bag. Can’t wait for the next Wine Time.

  9. I’ve never heard of these stuffed jalapenos. I can sure understand how you could get the wrong proportions if you are a nibbler (I am). I couldn’t help but think all the way through reading this that Elvis would have loved these. He loved peanut butter and who doesn’t love a stuffed jalapeno? It just seems natural to me.

    Cheetos in a crystal bowl – now THAT’s a party. The restaurant sounds like a fun place to take visitors. Thanks Lea Ann for taking us along.

    • I do believe Elvis might have liked these too Sam! Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

  10. Yum, jalapenos stuffed with peanut butter sounds delicious, but I’m a wimp when it comes to heat. Can’t get passed medium as hard as I try. My son went to CU in Boulder for 4 years and I think we missed The Fort on our visits. It looks like an interesting place.

    • I do like the heat and flavor of jalapenos if they are seeded and veins removed. But, pickling seemed to make these hotter.

  11. Nobody brings Cheetos as an appetizer to a real foodies house, when there’s really good appetizers and wine happening. Nobody. I wouldn’t invite that guy back.

    The peanut butter jalapenos and the marinara/melted cheese dish were off the charts.

    • I’ll only invite him back if he brings a bigger bag next time. 😉

  12. This sounds so different that I simply have to give it a try. Who would have ever thought :-). I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…MAry

    • Thanks Mary! They’re very unique in a delicious sort of way.

  13. I hate to admit it but we have never been to The Fort. I think we really do need to get out more. Until then, I think I may have to give these a try. By the way, I love Cheetos but my faves are the baked ones, yum!

    • Karen, We need to get out more too. We’re homebodies.

  14. This is so fantastically crazy…I must try it!

  15. Jalapenos and peanut butter!! I haven’t tried that. Very intriguing!

  16. This is such an interesting recipe! I would have never thought to combine pickled jalapenos with peanut butter. The Fort sounds like quite a fixture in Denver, it’s so rare these days to find restaurants that have been around for decades, it means it’s that good.

  17. You stuffed them with peanut butter?? How amazing is that? They look fabulous!

  18. Wow, jalapenos with peanut butter, now that is a combination I would have never found in a million years. I get they are amazing, and then using the canned ones too! Must be an explosion of flavor in every bite! Caliente!

  19. What a unique combination! I love it. I am keeping this for summertime when I have an abundance of peppers in my garden and don’t know what to do with them!

    • Pickling them was so easy, I’ll never buy them from the store again.

  20. That is completely twisted and insane.

    No wonder I want to try it!

    • That’s exactly why I had to try it….that and everyone that’s had them at the Fort raves about them.

  21. My mom makes pickled chiles – chile vinagre. I’ve eaten them with a lot of things but never with peanut butter. You have me intrigued.

    • The recipe sure intrigued me. And everyone that has had them at The Fort rave about them.

  22. This is a new type of dish for me. I have never tried eating jalapenos before. If it really is that good then I gotta have to try one as well.

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