July 19, 2018

Tasteful

By Jan Kenney

Time to Take a Dip

My first introduction to vegetables, Gerber’s pea puree, resulted in an unfortunate spray of green matter all over my mother, my high-chair and the wall. The first lie I ever told was at the age of two and a half when I announced to my grandmother that at my house I was not made to eat vegetables.

Vegetables and I have never had an easy relationship. But this hot spinach and artichoke dip is so good.

I first had this dish at Houston’s Restaurant in the Washington D.C. area. Being a veggie-phobe, I was dubious when friends ordered this appetizer, but I tried a nibble. I was smitten and have been trying to duplicate the recipe ever since.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

(Thanks to Houston’s Restaurant for the inspiration)

1 small box frozen chopped spinach

1 can/jar artichoke hearts coarsely chopped

1/8 lb butter (half of one stick)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced onion

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 pint heavy cream (light cream or Half and Half can be substituted)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup sour cream (lite or no-fat work fine, as does plain Greek yogurt)

½ cup grated Monterey jack cheese (plus another ¼ cup to sprinkle on top if desired)

Thaw spinach, strain and squeeze water out (the drier the better). Chop up any big bits. Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts.

In a heavy 10 or 12 inch saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and onions and sauté for about 5 minutes to soften. Add flour to make a roux (thick paste). Stir and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the cream, stirring with a whisk as you pour to prevent lumps. Stir until the mixture thickens and just reaches the boiling point. Add in the lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir in the sour cream or yogurt. Fold in the spinach, artichokes and Monterey jack cheese. Keep stirring gently until the cheese has melted.

Serve with tortilla chips, toasted garlic rounds, baby carrots or apple slices. You can transfer it to a pretty oven-proof serving dish, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top and put it under the broiler for a minute or two until the cheese browns a bit, just for presentation.

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