Friday, January 11, 2013

Hot Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip (with Beer and a Little Irish Whiskey)


This was a last minute appetizer I decided to make on Christmas Eve.  As we got closer to the guests' arrival, I realized I had not planned much in the way of something to nibble on before dinner.  My mom was bringing something to help me out (like she always does :) but I decided this might be a good addition.

I was inspired by a recipe in the LCBO Food and Drink Magazine  that my wonderful sister in-law (who lives in Ontario) has the kindness to keep the back issues of for me (thanks Elizabeth).  When I have some free time, I go through them and tear out any recipes that I find interesting.

This one looked good and easy with ingredients I had on hand.  I pretty much respected to ingredients but added a few little things.  After I caramelized the onions, I felt it would be a shame to waste the wonderful flavours left in the pan.   I decided to try a little Jameson Irish Whiskey to deglaze the pan.  The resulting glaze was delicious and added that little extra something special.  It was a great hit and I was asked to post the recipe so here it is.  Serve with corn chips or toasted Pita / Naan chips. You can omit the Whiskey step if you like - it's still very good.

Note:  Next time I make it, I will use Guinness Beer and Jameson Whiskey and call it Irish Cheese dip in honor of Mike's Irish heritage and the fact that I love Ireland.

You will need:  For about 1.5 cups of dip
Adapted from Food and Drink Magazine Early Summer 2007 (Roasted Onion and Cheese Dip)


  • 1 large package (250g - 8 oz) of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) of beer
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup (65g) of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp (5ml) of honey
  • 1.5 tsp (7.5ml) of grain mustard
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) of Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
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1.  Place the the sliced onion (1 small), beer (2tbsp - 30 ml), sugar (pinch) and butter (1 tbsp) in a pan over medium heat; 


2.  Allow the onions to cook slowly (about 15 minutes) until they begin to color and caramelize;



3.  While the onions are cooking, place the softened cream cheese (1 large package - 250g), honey (1tsp -5ml), grain mustard (1.5 tsp - 7.5 ml), thyme (1 tsp), grated sharp cheddar (1 cup - 65g) and beer (2tbsp - 30ml) in a bowl and mix together until well blended;

4.  Add the carmelized onions to the cream cheese mix and stir to blend;


5. Return the pan that the onions cooked in to the heat and deglaze with the Whiskey (2tbsp -30ml).  Scrape the bottom well.  The alcohol will boil off and you will be left with a small amount of syrupy liquid (about 1 tsp).  Add to the cream cheese mixture;

6. Season with salt and pepper and place in an oven proof ramekin (can be prepared ahead and kept in the fridge until you are ready to serve);


7.  When you are ready to serve, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C);


8.  Cook the cheese dip for about 20 to 25 minutes (middle oven).  It will begin to bubble and colour;


9.  Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on top and serve warm with pita/naan or corn chips.