Gridiron Grub: Grilled Cheese BLT Dip
When I was in high school, we had a tradition every Thursday night before Friday football games. Myself and a few of my friends would finish up with practice and show up sweaty and famished at my house. For some reason my Mom not only condoned this, but encouraged it by offering to feed the huddled masses. Dinner was always the same on these nights; grilled cheese with bacon, lettuce and tomato on wheat bread. This tradition has permanently seared in my palate the sweet, smoky combination of late-season tomatoes, gooey cheese, thick bacon and chewy homemade bread as the perfect complement to fall days and Friday night lights.
Grilled cheese is somewhat difficult to pull off at a tailgate and even harder to bring when you are invited somewhere. Can you imagine the reaction to showing up to watch a game with a tray of soggy, lukewarm BLT grilled cheeses? From then on you would definitely be the asshole in charge of bringing the soda and chips. Because of that, I have tinkered with a homemade grilled cheese/BLT dip over the years. It hits all the right notes, though early in the process I realized that lettuce just wasn’t a good fit so I switched to the dip staple: spinach. This has been my go-to takealong for last-minute tailgates and game-watching.
Grilled Cheese BLT DIP
4 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules
8 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 16oz cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 package frozen spinach
1/2 cup water chestnuts 10 slices bacon cooked and cumbled
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
16 oz gruyere 3/4 c sundried tomatoes
Get your bacon cooking and while that is crisping up, dice the water chestnuts and tomatoes and then rinse/drain your spinach. As with most dips, the more water you can wring out of the spinach at this point, the better. In an oven-safe dish, mix the cream cheese and all your other ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
By this time, your bacon should be finished. Let it cool while you grate the gruyere. After that, crumble your bacon and mix it with all of your other ingredients before sprinkling gruyere over the top of the entire dish. Pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the gruyere is melted and the whole dip is warm and bubbling.
You can always mix everything and warm it up once you arrive at your destination.For style points, finish things under the broiler to get the cheese bubbling and a little darker.
Serve the dip with bread cubes, rye crisps, crackers, or anything else you think will work. However people get this dip into their mouth, it definitely will be a staple at future football get-togethers.
More Bacon: Recipes, raves and other bacon bits in Endless Bacon.
(Photo: Chris Breeze)