Sunday, September 11, 2011

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Seasoned Dippers

Great for entertaining hungry guests or spending a lazy Sunday on the couch, spinach artichoke dip is always a classic. By using the right cheeses, garlic and spices, we’ve created a creamy version of this dip that we can’t resist. Pour it in a bread bowl, and add in some seasoned, baked bread squares for dipping, and you’ve got an appetizer that both looks and tastes awesome!

5 tablespoons butter
3/8 cups flour
2 cups whole milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
½ cup shredded Fontina cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
10 oz fresh spinach
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (15 0z) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and julienned
1 tablespoon butter, chopped into small pieces
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon pepper

Seasoned Dippers:
round loaf of bread
olive oil
cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Warm the two cups milk. Melt butter over medium heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Whisk in the milk and season the liquid with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Whisk the liquid for 3 to 5 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 sauté pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in handfuls of spinach at a time, until all the spinach is incorporated. Add the garlic and artichokes, and sauté for 2 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, paprika 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. Sprinkle the pieces of butter on the top. Sprinkle ½ cup parmesan cheese and about ½ tsp of pepper of on the top as well. Bake the dip for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

To make the dippers, I like using a round loaf of bread so that I can use the hollowed out loaf as a bread bowl for serving. Chop up the bread from the cut-out part of the loaf into bite size pieces. Place in a mixing bowl and coat with oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Turn out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until they get toasted.

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