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Spinach Artichoke Dip

January 26, 2010

by Elizabeth

A few months ago I got a mass email with a “cookbook” attached  – full of 478 recipes for famous restaurant dishes. 95% of these recipes are from either fast food or fast casual restaurants, including gems such as Olive Garden’s Fettucine Alfredo, Golden Corral’s Seafood Salad, McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce, KFC’s Macaroni Salad, and Red Lobster’s Clam Chowder. Sounds delicious, right? You’ll be even more pleased to know that the ingredients found in said “cookbook” include delicacies such as MSG, Miracle Whip, Strained Beef Babyfood, and Cheez-whiz. But don’t worry – if you have the “cookbook”, you can make your own Cheez-whiz! Hallelujah.

Oh look, there is the healthy stuff

Now to be fair, there were several recipes I was pretty excited about, like Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, Waldorf Salad, Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese, Chili’s queso (severe guilty pleasure), and Girl Scout Thin Mints. But I nearly screamed out loud at my desk when I saw Houston’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip. This was really exciting.


I was thrilled for two reasons. First, because I really do like Houston’s, and especially this dip, even if it is technically a chain. But I rarely go because there is always an approximately 75 minute wait, unless you want to dine with the geriatrics between the hours of 3 pm and 5 pm. Second, because I have never made a spinach artichoke dip that I like.  It never turns out quite right, usually tastes like too much mayonnaise, and I get mad because I feel like this is a pretty basic dish I should be able to make well.

I die.

It turns out the secret is making a parmesan cream sauce, from scratch, with a roux and a pint of heavy cream. Yes, it takes a little longer than melting cream cheese and sour cream together in the microwave, but it is so worth it. This is a decadent, rich, dip – and the flavors are perfectly balanced. And as an added bonus, you can enjoy it say, at dinner time, as opposed to only between 3 and 5 in the afternoon.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
2 bags (1 lb. each) fresh or frozen spinach
1/2 stick of butter − not margarine
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons minced onions or shallots
1/4 cup flour
1 pint heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, coarsely diced
Steam spinach − strain and squeeze through cheesecloth or kitchen towel. Make sure it is very dry. Chop finely and set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and onions and saute about 3−5 minutes. Add flour to make a roux. Stir and cook about 1 minute. Slowly add heavy cream, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumping. Mixture will thicken at the boiling point. When it thickens, add lemon juice, Tabasco, salt and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Fold in dry, chopped spinach, coarse diced artichoke hearts and 1/2 cup of Jack cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining Jack cheese. Place under broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Serve immediately with salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips for dipping.

*You can make this a day in advance and reheat it in the oven, but I would probably make a slightly thinner cream sauce, as it seemed to thicken overnight. Maybe use only 1/8 cup flour for the roux, the full 1/4 cup made for a very thick sauce to begin with.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    January 26, 2010 4:47 pm

    I am drooling at my desk reading this recipe – not very lady-like of me. 🙂

  2. Casey permalink
    January 26, 2010 6:43 pm

    This was DELICIOUS! I should have taken some home for “Jordan.” 🙂

  3. Meghann permalink
    January 27, 2010 10:22 am

    Ok yummmmm! Spinach artichoke dip is one of my favorite things ever. Thanks for posting this one!

  4. lisa permalink
    January 29, 2010 7:49 am

    hey hey hey–don’t make fun of the geriatrics dining!! 🙂 speaking of, we need to plan a dinner soon!


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