HOUSTON’S CHICAGO-STYLE SPINACH DIP

This is one of the best spinach dips out there so it needs a proper clone. While the hack I created several years ago was good, it just wasn’t as creamy as the real thing, plus it was missing a few key ingredients such as Tabasco, lemon juice, and sugar. I’ve also tweaked the cooking method here so that you get a creamier sauce (by making a roux), and the spinach is brighter green in the finished product (no more overcooking). According to servers at the restaurant, Houston’s uses Parmigiano-Reggiano in the dip. It’s an especially tasty Parmesan cheese from a specific region in Italy, but I recently discovered that here in the U.S. regulations for cheese labeling are not as strict as in Europe. The Parmigiano-Reggiano you buy at your market may in fact be a locally made imitation. The good news is the recipe works just as well with any Parmesan cheese you find. So go ahead and use the cheaper stuff. It works just fine here and still makes a crazy good dip.

1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
¾ cup diced canned artichoke hearts (not marinated)
2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chicken broth
⅓ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

ON THE SIDE
Tortilla chips or strips
Sour cream
Salsa


Cooking method

1-Squeeze the liquid out of the thawed spinach and combine it with the artichoke hearts in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Keep the bowl covered and set it aside until needed.

2-While the spinach and artichoke hearts are in the microwave, heat up the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 1 minute, but do not let the garlic brown.

3-Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.

4-Whisk in the cream, then add the chicken broth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and thickens.

5-Stir in the spinach and artichoke hearts mixture. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and Tabasco. Continue cooking for 2 minutes—stirring often—or until the mixture is hot.

6-When the dip is hot, spoon it into a serving dish. Sprinkle the Monterey Jack cheese over the top and serve with tortilla chips, plus sour cream and salsa on the side.

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