JALAPEÑO POPPER DIP
Dip Friday: it’s a new tradition that my teammates at work and I set up where at the end of each work week, each one of us would rotate to bring in a chip dip to celebrate the last day of the work week. It was my turn in the rotation this week, and since last time I busted out the buffalo chicken dip, I needed something new to bring in.
I perused around online for some inspiration until I ran into an awesome idea where someone took the concept of a jalapeño popper and made it into a chip dip. It sounded real good and fairly easy to make, so I thought, “Why not give it a try?”
Jalapeño Popper Dip
Makes 7″ x 11″ pan of chip dip
~ 8 – 10 jalapeños, diced
~ 12 oz. bacon (8 – 10 slices)
~ 1 tsp garlic powder
~ 3 tbsp dry bread crumbs
~ 2 (8 oz.) pacakages of Neufchâtel cheese (similar in taste to cream cheese, but with reduced fat)
~ 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
~ 1 tsp dried oregano
~ 1 tsp Tabasco or Chipotle Tabasco sauce (optional)
Start off prepping the jalapeños by cutting them in half, removing the seeds and ribs, and then giving them a nice dice. I tried to make it a finer dice so that people wouldn’t get huge chunks of jalapeños when they took a scoop out of the dip.
With those finished, start warming up a frying pan on the stove to cook the bacon. At this point, you could also begin to preheat your oven to 375 degrees. After you’ve crisped up the bacon, give it some coarse chops to make some thin strips, maybe no more than a quarter inch wide. Take out about 2 tablespoons of the chopped bacon and mix that with the bread crumbs to form your dip topping. The rest of the bacon will go into the cheese mixture.
Put your two packages of Neufchâtel cheese into a large bowl and warm them in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute to soften them up (it will make the mixing process a lot easier). Mix into that bowl your cheddar cheese, bacon, diced jalapeños, and garlic powder. If you want an added kick, put in the Tabasco sauce as well. Spoon this mixture into a 7″ x 11″ casserole dish and then top it with your bacon-breadcrumb mixture. Cover the dish and into the oven it goes for 15 – 18 minutes.
I had originally toned down the jalapeños to about six of them to avoid giving the dip too much heat, but the cheese cancelled out a lot of the spiciness that would come from the jalapeños. I think that pushing the number of jalapeños back up closer to ten would be a safe bet to bring the jalapeño flavor to the forefront. The idea of adding the Tabasco sauce intrigued me with regards to giving the dip an added depth of heat and flavor. I think the smokiness from the Chipotle Tabasco sauce would be a great addition to the dip’s overall flavor profile.