Spinach and Artichoke Tailgate Dip
Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
Set a large fry pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 5-7 minutes until mostly crispy but not burnt.
While the bacon cooks, thinly slice the onions.
Cover a plate with a paper towel and transfer the bacon to the plate to drain when done. NOTE: be careful to leave as much of the bacon grease in the pan as possible, as you will use this to cook the onions.
Return the pan to the stove and add the sliced onions. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Season the onions with 1/8 tsp of salt and 5 grinds of fresh black pepper (if using) and decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the most of the onions are caramelized.
While the onions cook, add the softened cream cheese, sour cream and cayenne pepper to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Drain the artichoke hearts and cut them in half the long way. Next, julienne each half and add it to the cream cheese mixture.
Finely chop the cooked bacon and add to the cream cheese mixture.
When onions are finished cooking, add them to the cream cheese mixture.
Place the pan back on the stove, turn the heat up to medium and add the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the spinach and season with 1/4 tsp of salt and 5 grinds of fresh black pepper (if using). Sauté the spinach until it is completely wilted (about 4 minutes). Add to the cream cheese mixture and stir well to combine all of the ingredients.
Transfer mixture to an 8″ square or 8 or 9″ round baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown.
While the dip cooks, dice the tomato into 1/2″ dice and set aside.
Allow dish to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Top with chopped tomatoes and serve warm with tortilla chips or chopped veggies.
One of the things that my family misses the most about dairy is the creamy consistency that it lends to dips and sauces, and so this recipe was inspired by all of the decedent savory dips that we’ve missed so much. When cooking with soy products, I’ve learned that by combining many complimentary and strong flavors, one can overcome the “soy” taste and be left with only the smooth, luxurious consistency that the higher fat soy products offer.
In particular, this recipe relies on the salty smokiness of the bacon, the sweet caramelization of the onions and the fresh bite of the tomatoes to overpower the “soy” aftertaste.
I hope you’ll agree that this one is a real crowd pleaser, even for those who swear that they don’t like soy!
If your cream cheese isn’t softened, just place it in the microwave at 20% power for approximately 4 minutes until softened.