For Father's Day it was my task to bring "chips and dip" to our family celebration and this gave me the opportunity to find a new recipe and try something I've never done before. The first thing that came to mind was a spinach and artichoke dip because these are two of my favorite veggies. My search, however, was for a hot dip without mayonnaise! I didn't realize it would be so difficult to find but finally The Pioneer Woman did have a sans mayo dip. I did some very slight modifications and the dip was fabulous. I suggest you make this the night before but don't bake it until the day you will serve it. Also, warmed up pita bread goes fabulous with this dip.
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
- 3 Tablespoons Butter (additional)
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 1-1/2 cup half and half (more If Needed), warmed
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 package (8 Ounce) Softened Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cups Grated Colby Jack or Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
- Pita Wedges
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the half of the minced garlic and cook for a minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the spinach, a tiny pinch of salt and raise the heat a little. Stir around the spinach and garlic for three to four minutes or until the spinach wilts.
Remove the spinach from the skillet and put it in a small strainer--put the strainer over the skillet you just used and squeeze the excess juice back into the skillet. Set the spinach aside.
Add the artichokes to the spinach juice and cook over medium high heat for a minute, then add the remainder of the garlic and keep cooking until the liquid is cooked off and artichokes start to get a little color, about 4 minutes. Remove the artichokes and set aside. Chop up the wilted spinach and the cooked artichokes.
Meanwhile, in a 4 quart pot, melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour. Keep whisking until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in the warm half and half. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; splash in more half and half, if needed. Add the chopped jalapeno and cook for 30 seconds then add cream cheese, feta, Parmesan, Jack cheese, and cayenne and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Add the chopped spinach and artichokes to the sauce. Stir to combine and remove off heat. Taste and season with a little pepper (I doubt you will need more salt since the feta and Parmesan cheeses are quite salty already).
Pour the dip into buttered baking dish and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with pita wedges, chips, or crackers!