Brie and Bacon Spinach Dip
So this is the best homemade spinach dip ever. It’s hot and gooey, rich and cheesy, salty and creamy. Basically it is everything that spinach dip should be. My version evolved out of Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for spinach dip on the food network website, I took a few shortcuts from his and added lots more bacon. I also always make mine a day early, and then divide the batch it into three 500ml 5.5 inch diameter Corningware ramekins for serving. Letting the dip rest overnight in the fridge allows the bacon do the most wonderful things to the flavor–heaven. Having the dip in 3 ramekins means that you can heat and serve the dip as needed at your party instead of trying to keep a giant vat of the stuff warm for the whole event. The best part is if you have an unbaked ramekin leftover after the party it will make a perfect naughty after school snack later in the week.
6-8 strips of bacon
1 cup of diced onion
3 Tbsp of diced garlic (the stuff in the jar works great)
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup brie, cubed with rind removed
1 cup other mild melting cheese (Monterey Jack is perfect), cubed
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp fresh parsley diced
2 boxes of frozen spinach, thawed and wrung out
1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Handful of grated cheese to garnish the top
Pita or Bagel chips for dipping
Start by dicing up the bacon and frying it in the bottom of a pot large enough to accommodate the entire batch of dip. Make sure the bacon is nice and crispy but don’t let it burn. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
In the hot pan on the stove add the onions to the bacon fat, and sauté until soft and clear. When the onions are almost cooked add in the garlic. Then add the flour. Stir the pot consistently until a light roux forms, about 2 minutes.
Now you will add the milk and cream, you may need to turn the heat down to be sure nothing burns. Add the milk and cream slowly, stirring well. This is a good point to add the hot sauce, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Now add the drained spinach, artichokes, lemon juice and parsley. Mix well and then add in the cubed brie and the cup of the other mild cheese, monetary jack is perfect but honestly any good white cheese you have will work. My last batch used a mix of mozzarella and jarlsberg. Just don’t forget to remove that rind off the brie. Last mix your bacon back into the dip. Be sure to taste your dip now and adjust any flavors you need to.
I will then allow the pot to cool and put the dip into the fridge at least overnight. The dip will only get better sitting in the fridge and it’s also convenient to be able to make this dip a day or two before the party. I also highly recommend that you don’t let your family know that the dip is edible at this point. Tell them it’s still raw, trust me, or else you will not have dip for your party. That being said, you don’t have to let the dip rest over night you can bake it right now.
When I am ready to serve the dip I preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then scoop the dip into three 500ml ramekins that are well greased with cooking spray. Sprinkle a little grated cheese on top of each ramekin and pop them into the oven on a cookie sheet for about 45 minutes if the dip is cold or only about 15 minutes of the dip is right off the stove. I have found cooking the dip in my toaster oven is prefect at parties as it leaves the main oven free for other things.
For a big party I will start one ramekin so it’s ready just before guests arrive, and then pop the second one into the oven as soon as my first guest actually walks in the door. I wait and see how popular the dip is and how big the party is before the third one goes in the oven. I like to serve the dip with pita or bagel chips, but you can use your favorite crackers, celery sticks or tortilla chips too. And for my mother and husband I always put a bottle of Cholula sauce next to the dip. Enjoy!!