Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A go-to appetizer of the family, spinach artichoke dip satisfies on so many levels. 

On a sensory level, the creamy texture is balanced nicely by the accompanying crunch of the crudites or multigrain crisps. On a nutritional level, the iron-dense spinach and mineral-rich artichoke overwhemingly subdues the guilty pleasure of cream cheese. With the argument now leaning toward ... just do it ... and so we shall!

I always need to make a double batch of this because ...

there's almost not enough!

Sautéed Spinach:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
About 280 g (10 oz.) bag of spinach
Pinch of salt
1 tsp pepper
550 g (20 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained

Cheese Dip:
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
350-450 ml (1-1/2  to 2 cups) milk 
225 g (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese

Extra grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese, to top
Extra parmesan, to top

1. In a frypan on medium high heat, melt the butter, and when hot, add the garlic.
2. When it starts to sizzle, stir in the spinach, cooking until it just starts wilting.
3. Remove the spinach and set it aside in a bowl.
4. Cook the artichokes in the same pan until it turns a bit golden and the liquid has evaporated.
5. Spoon the artichokes into the spinach bowl.

6. Melt the next 4 tbsp of butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux.
7. Keep whisking for another minute, then slowly pour in the milk, whisking until it turns into a thin batter.
8. Add the cheeses: cream cheese, feta, parmesan, and cheddar, and keep stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce is thick and creamy, then turn off the heat.
9. Chop the artichokes and the spinach and mix them into the cheese sauce.

10. Preheat the oven to 175C or 350F.
11. Butter an 8x8 pyrex or baking dish and pour the spinach artichoke dip into it.
12. Top with the extra cheese and bake for 20 minutes until the cheese melts and the dip starts bubbling on the sides.

Serve with multigrain chips, crisps or crackers.

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