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)
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.