We're drawing nearer and nearer to the Super Bowl and you know what that means--it's time to start thinking about snack-y foods like nachos, wings, and dips. Sure, I know the day is about the blitzes, Hail Marys and touchdowns but if we're being totally honest, lots of us watch for the commercials, halftime extravaganza and party snacks that diehard and not-so-diehard football fans have come to expect. Which helps me segue nicely to this Warm Chili-Cheese Dip, a dish that's as apropos for a Super Bowl party as you can get. Yes, you can buy a ready made version, but with just a little bit of effort you can make a "super" dip that'll have everyone cheering for you!
One of the most memorable Super Bowls for us was about 10 years ago when our oldest son turned 10 and we had the "brilliant" idea to host a Super Bowl party for him and 10 other very active and rambunctious little boys. The first part of the party went smoothly--the boys and my husband all went down to the local park and played some flag football while I stayed home with our youngest and got the food ready. It was the second half of that party that almost did us in. The boys all came home, we put on the Super Bowl and served them dinner and for about half an hour, things were great. Then somebody started throwing some M & M's at someone else and someone retaliated with popcorn and well...you can imagine the rest. It was some cleanup and we made a vow never to host another Super Bowl party!! It was just too traumatic! So now we go to my sister's and this year, I will definitely be bringing a big bowl of this spicy, cheesy dip!
You start by roasting a green pepper and a jalapeno pepper which I always try to do on the grill outside. Then you stick them in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let the skins steam off. Makes it a cinch!
Next you shred cheddar and Monterey Jack and toss it with a bit of cornstarch which helps to make the dip extra thick and creamy!
The dip comes together in just a few minutes and is so full of gooey cheesy goodness with just the right amount of heat. It's addictive and you'll want to dive right in!
And in! Truly a "super bowl"! I think I've changed my mind--I love football!
Warm Chili-Cheese Dip
Serves 10-12 people but maybe only 7-8 if this is the only snack you're serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes (Plus time to roast the peppers)
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup dark beer (or apple juice if you want to keep this non-alcoholic--it's great this way too!)
- 1 small green bell pepper, roasted, skinned, seeded and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 jalapeno, roasted, skinned and chopped (omit the seeds if you want to keep this milder)
- 2-3 shakes crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Salt to taste
- Taco Chips for serving (optional)
1. The easiest way to roast the peppers is to do them outside on the grill. Brush the grates with a bit of oil and turn the heat up high. Place the peppers directly on the grill and use a pair of tongs to periodically rotate them as they begin to get charred. Once done, place in a bowl and cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Let sit for at least 10 minutes--this makes it easy to peel off the skin. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, seed, chop up and set aside. Alternatively you can do this inside on the gas burners or even in the oven. Turn oven up to 450ºF, rub peppers with a bit of oil, place on a baking pan and roast for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice during the process. Remove and place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to help steam off skins.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the cheeses together with the cornstarch and set aside.
3. Pour the oil into a medium skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring every now and then, for about 3-4 minutes, until tender and translucent. Then add the garlic and stir continuously for 1 minute. Pour in the beer or apple juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and slowly add the cheese, a big handful at a time, whisking constantly until completely melted before adding the next handful. When all of the cheese has been added in, remove from the heat and add in the peppers, red pepper flakes, parsley and salt to taste. Now if you have a fondue pot, you can transfer this to keep it warm or you can leave this on the stove on a very low light until ready to serve.
4. Dip can be made one day ahead, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated in a small pot over a low light or in a microwaveable dish in the microwave.
Note: Recipe adapted from Sara Foster's Casual Cooking by Sara Foster. I substituted cheddar for the Manchego cheese, used apple juice instead of the beer and left out 1/2 teaspoon of cumin because we're not big fans of it.