This dip will make you say cheese

There was a Mexican restaurant we used to frequent when I was in grade school where I loved to explore the menu. Often, my goal was to find a dish with lots of cheese in it.

One night, I spotted cheese enchiladas on the menu, and noting from the description that they were basically just cheese-filled tortillas and were being served with more cheese sauce on top, I announced that I was going to try them.

My mom expressed her skepticism that I’d really want that much cheese, but my dad, ever the kidder, dared me to try them anyway, so of course, I ordered it.

As always, mother knows best, as I quickly realized there really was a limit to my love of cheese. That being said, I still love all kinds of cheese, and when I was recently looking for a good dip for some soft pretzels, I decided to try a new recipe that turned out to be almost more of a spread than a dip, but it’s delicious.

I found this recipe on the blog “Family Fresh Meals.” You can find the original at http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2014/12/pub-style-beer-cheese-dip.html. I added extra garlic to mine and substituted spicy brown mustard for Dijon.

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Pub Style Beer Cheese Dip

Ingredients

16 ounces sharp cheddar

4 ounces cream cheese

1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire

2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 to 2/3 cups beer (I used an Irish red)

Directions

Cube the cheeses and place them along with the Worcestershire, mustard, garlic and paprika in a food processor (you could probably get away with using a blender if it’s a powerful one).

Pulse until everything is combined well and finely chopped.

Starting with 1/2-cup of the beer, pour it in slowly, pulse until it’s well combined, and if you want it to be thinner, add more beer until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

Put the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least one hour to let the flavors meld.

Serve with anything from soft pretzels to crackers.

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We loaded this up on some Ritz crackers in addition to some soft pretzel bites, and it was delicious. It was like having a more adult version of cheese and crackers from my childhood.

If you’re not really into the flavor of beer, it’s not super pronounced in this dip, but if you’re super intolerant of it, I would say you might be able to pick the taste out. It has an overall smoky flavor from the paprika, mustard and Worcester­shire.

I don’t know how it would turn out, but you might get away with using a beef or chicken broth in place of the beer if you wanted, although I’m sure it would have a pretty big impact on the overall flavor. Non-alcoholic beer would also work fine.

And the nice thing is that while this is nice and cheesy, it’s not nearly as overwhelming as cheese enchiladas with cheese sauce. It’s best to leave those sorts of things to the professionals.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.