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.