I like football and I was sad to see college football season come to a close. But I’m glad that the Superbowl is coming up! Not because I care about any of the teams that might be playing (the ones I cared about are out of it now) but because of the food. Oh, Superbowl food. Few things are better. Am I right? I think I am.
This recipe came from a restaurant in San Antonio called Liberty Bar. I’ve never actually been, but my sister lived in San Antonio for a while and has been there. When she saw this recipe in a magazine, something like 10 years ago, she decided we should make it. And we did. And it was incredible. I usually refer to it as “the piloncillo dip” to my family, and they immediately know what I’m talking about. And then we all start drooling.
For some reason I had kind of forgotten about it until recently. I’ve now made it twice in the last month for parties and am so glad to have rediscovered it.
The dip is a great combination of flavors; spicy, sweet and tangy. I love goat cheese, so I’m a big fan of this dip, but the goat cheese isn’t so strong that someone who isn’t crazy about it won’t like it. The sauce is rich and creamy and sweet and amazing. It is a little spicy because of the chipotle. If you’re worried about it you can cut back on the chipotle, or just use the adobo sauce and not so much of the peppers themselves.
Piloncillo, also called panela, is a Mexican unrefined whole cane sugar that is available at most large grocery stores. I always find it with the other Mexican foods and have seen it in a cone form and also in a round disc. It is similar in flavor to dark brown sugar, but has a different texture. You might be able to substitute brown sugar in this recipe, but I’ve never tried it. Let me know if you do and if it’s successful. Chipotles in adobo are in the same spot as the piloncillo at my grocery store. But my sister in New York has said it’s hard to find. You don’t end up using the whole can in this recipe, but I’ve frozen the extra in a small tupperware or freezer bag, thawed it out and used it in other recipes with great success. Don’t let it go to waste, especially if it’s a rarity where you live!
Serve this with pita chips or slices of grilled bread. I serve the sauce on top of the dip, but you can also serve the cheese dip and sauce in separate bowls, allowing people to get just the amount of sauce and cheese they want. To serve altogether I usually lay a piece of plastic wrap in the botttom of a pie plate, spread the cheese in an even layer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Then I uncover the cheese spread and flip it out onto a large platter, peel off the plastic wrap, and then cover with some of the sauce. There is almost always extra sauce and I hate throwing it away since it’s so stinking good. Any ideas on how to use the extra?
Goat Cheese Dip with Piloncillo Chipotle Sauce
Serves at 10-12 as an appetizer
From Liberty Bar
For the cheese spread
- 6 ounces soft mild goat cheese, at room temperature
- 12 ounces cream cheese (full fat or 1/3 fat), at room temperature
- 1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt (use the side of a large chef’s knife to do this)
- 1 teaspoon minced canned chiles chipoltes in adobo sauce
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced canned chiles chipoltes in adobo sauce
- 8 ounces piloncillo (Mexican unrefined sugar), roughly chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pita chips, crackers, toasted baguette slices or grilled bread slices
- Make the cheese spread: Beat together cheeses, garlic paste, and chipolte chiles. Transfer mixture to a small serving bowl (or pie plate lined with plastic wrap) and chill, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Make the sauce: In a small saucepan combine chipoltes, piloncillo, and cream and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up sugar, until piloncillo is melted and sauce is smooth, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer sauce to a small serving bowl and chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Serve cheese and sauce in separate bowls, or pour some of the sauce over the cheese spread to serve.
My Aunt Susan made this dip a few Christmases ago when we were visiting my mom’s side of the family in Richvale, California. It was so delicious that I just had to get the recipe. When she wrote it down for me I was surprised at how short the ingredient list was and how easy it was to put together. Those are the best recipes. Simple, easy, quick and delicious.
This dip can be made with or without the spinach. Susan originally made this without the spinach, but I like it with. It makes me feel like I’m being good to have the spinach in this dip. If you use light mayo (or a mixture of plain yogurt and mayo), and low-fat mozzarella this isn’t the worst dip on the planet. Using the spinach just adds to the flavor and adds some extra goodness.
If you decide to use spinach, you can use fresh or frozen. I like to use fresh, but sometimes it’s not the quickest thing to do. If you’re using frozen, thaw it completely then squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. To use fresh, just saute in a pan with a little olive oil and minced garlic.
You can serve it with almost anything; crackers, baguette, veggies, sourdough pieces, etc. Just use what you like. I like to use toasted bread for a nice contrasting crunch. Enjoy!
Spinach (or not) Artichoke Dip
- 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 cup mayo (light, regular or half mayo half yogurt)
- 10 ounces fresh spinach, wilted
- 1 cup grates Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
- cayenne pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
- Pour into a shallow baking dish (a 9-inch pie plate is perfect)
- Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
This salad was a big hit at the Superbowl party I brought it to last weekend. It is technically a salad, but a lot of us ate it like a dip with tortilla chips instead. I ate mine over a little mound of crushed chips. The chips add a nice crunch and saltiness. The flavors in this salad are very refreshing. It was a good complement to the heavy chili and queso at the party. The black beans and avocados are healthy and substantial and give the salad some weight that makes it an appealing thing to even the manliest of men. I made mine a few hours before serving and it was great; not soggy at all. I ate some the next day after it had been sitting in the fridge all night, and it was still delicious. The avocado was still green and creamy without any nasty, slimy, brown spots. I really liked the dressing. The addition of lime juice, cilantro and cumin makes the ranch dressing so much tastier. I am thinking about mixing some more of it up just to have on hand. Adding some minced jalapeno might be nice too.
I combined many different recipes to come up with this salad. A lot that I looked at use chips or cornbread as a layer in the salad, but I am not a fan of soggy bread in anything besides stuffing at Thanksgiving. So, I left the chips out, and served them on the side instead. If you want to add chips, cruch up about 2 cups and use half as a layer in between the corn and lettuce layers.
Mexican Layered Salad
- 2 – 3 heads of romaine, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
- 3 grated carrots
- 3 – 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 2 avocados, cut into 1/4 inch chunks and tossed with about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 6 – 8 green onions, chopped
- 1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
- 2 cups shredded cheese, a combination of cheddar and monterey jack is great
- 1 1/2 cups ranch dressing
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 3 – 5 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Tortilla chips for serving
- In a small bowl combine tomatoes and scallions.
- Combine romaine, cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine dressing, cumin, lime juice and cilantro. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a trifle dish, layer half of the beans, then half of the corn.
- Top half of the lettuce mixture and press down.
- Top with half of the tomato mixture, then half of the avocado.
- Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then drizzle with dressing.
- Repeat layers again, pressing down as needed.
- Top with cheese, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 1 hour. Can prepare 1 day ahead.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
My Aunt Susan gave me an incredible recipe for artichoke dip a few years ago when we were visiting relatives in Richvale, California. I had a craving for it this week, but couldn’t find the recipe. After making this dip I was putting some things away in the study and I miraculously found Susan’s recipe! Life is funny that way.
This recipe is more complicated and time consuming than Susan’s, so when I need a quick dinner party appetizer I will definitely be making hers. This recipe makes A TON of dip, has a fresher flavor than the mayo based artichoke dips a lot of people make, and re-heats really well. This would make a great addition to a Christmas party buffet, and if you have more than one to attend you could divide the dip between 2 dishes, bring one to one party, keep the other in the fridge and use it later! I do not think they would freeze well, but you could give it a try. Let me know how that goes.
I loved the big, yummy chunks of artichoke in this dip and the use of fresh instead of frozen spinach makes for a better flavor. The vegetables in the dip make me feel as if I am eating something somewhat healthy. However, this dip is really not too terrible for you, or so it seems by the ingredient list. Milk, I used 2 %, and just 1 cup of cheese total…but then there’s the vegetable oil. Oh well. It’s yummy. I served this dip with tortilla chips, but it would be good with pita chips or some whole wheat crackers.
Artichoke and Spinach Dip (courtesy of Emeril)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack (about 2 ounces)
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach, stemmed, rinsed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and julienned
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly 5 to 6 minutes for a blond roux. Whisk in the milk and bring the liquid up to a boil. Season the liquid with salt and cayenne. Simmer the liquid for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the liquid is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Set the sauce aside.
- In a saute pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in handfuls of spinach at a time, until all the spinach is incorporated. Add the garlic and artichoke and saute for 2 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and cayenne. Remove the vegetables from the heat and turn into a mixing bowl. Fold the cheese sauce into the vegetables. Turn the mixture into a baking pan. Bake the dip for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips or crackers.