Last year, we posted a home-made onion dip that far surpasses the onion-soup-mix version. In this honest recipe, real life onions and garlic are cooked in a pan, not dehydrated and coated in chemicals. The resulting dip is fresh and bright. In this updated version, to add some kick, white pepper and hot sauce are being contributed. Onion dip is often so “smooth” that it just flows from bowl to stomach. The kick here is to give you little pause as you chew, a tad bit of surprise as you bite.
What onion to use? It’s up to you. White, red, Vidalia, Spanish, … Honestly, my palette — scarred by decades of sugar and chocolate — just can’t detect much difference. The same with garlic. I have gone to the Saugerties Garlic Festival for years, bought several varieties, planted them, harvested them, eaten them, and truly shaken my head. The differences are modest and often lost in the mix with the other ingredients. Suzen’s palette is far more refined and she is sensitive to the differences. She shakes her head, too, but not at the food.
I’m used to it.
In the picture above, I do show spring onions, which offer a more mellow flavor that even I can appreciate. You might, might, encounter some early samples in your market from Florida or points further south of the Snow Line.
Spiced Onion Dip
Yield: serves 6
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 medium onions [or equivalent volume of shallots]
- 2 shallots
- Olive oil
- 1 package cream cheese [4 to 6 ounces depending on your taste]
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon [or more] hot sauce
Roast the garlic heads in foil at 400°F for 1 hour.
Skin and slice the onions and shallots. Put on a half sheet pan covered with foil. Sprinkle with olive oil and roast at 350°F for 40 minutes.
Allow the roasted garlic and roasted onions to cool to room temperature. Put into the bowl of a food processor. Add half the cream cheese and half the sour cream. Process until smooth. Taste test and add additional cream cheese and sour cream to achieve the consistency and flavor you desire.
Stir in the pepper, adjust to taste. Then the hot sauce, again adjusting to taste.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Onion dip, anyone? Yes, you can take a package of onion soup mix and that container of sour cream, and you can make something very good. [Especially if you double soup mix goop!]. It’s real comfort food.
But, comfortable or very good is not exceptional. It is not excitingly different.
From the August 2012 edition of Martha Steward Living here is a recipe that Suzen and I cannot wait to share with you. To get the onion flavor, use real onions. To get some heat for a different flavor profile, caramelize some poblanos. To intensify flavor, add lime juice. And to add richness, pair cream cheese with the standard sour cream.
Ah, is it healthy? No, not exactly. But, is it satisfying? Yes, magnificently yes. The fact is that you can, and possibly should, eat everything. You just need to do it in moderation. Our brains tell us when “enough is enough.” The problem with processed foods, or that classic onion dip made from a bag, is that we too used to it, and the real flavors of the food are buried in salt, preservatives, and gunk. Your cravings are actually good experiences to have, and those craving are for real food.
If you crave onion dip, then this is the one you should try.
Caramelized Poblano Chile and Onion Dip
Yield: 2 cups serving 6 to 8
- ¼ cup safflower oil
- 3 cups diced white onion
- 3 fresh poblano chiles, seeds and ribs removed [3 cups]
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
- Coarse salt
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice [from 2 to 3 limes]
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- Cayenne pepper for garnish
- Dipping things: chips, cucumber slices, radishes, baby carrots ….
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, chiles, coriander and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chiles are tender and caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely. [Yes, 25 to 30 minutes. Open a bottle of wine.]
Stir together the lime juice, cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl, using a rubber spatula, until smooth and evenly mixed. Add the onion mixture and stir to blend. Season with salt if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. Sprinkle with cayenne for color.
Source: Martha Stewart Living