This is party food. The sort of mingle-and-chit-chat-and-have-another-bite kind of food. Sometimes a party means a group of lively comrades saying “Cheers!” as their glasses chime merrily while clinking together. Sometimes it means a bunch of strangers politely making small talk.
And if we’re honest, sometimes you just need to throw yourself a party by cranking up the music while you clean the house and make a celebration of an ordinary task!
Whatever sort of party you find yourself in, a helping of creamy dip and salty chips fits the bill. This one has cilantro and green peppers, and just enough lime to balance all the cheese and sour cream. It’s not on the thick side, so if you like your party dips thick, add another cup of sour cream, more cheese, and only use two to three peppers (or just one if you like it creamy!). The measurements of ingredients are quite flexible as dips are generally quite forgiving (although don’t add too many peppers as the water released as they cook could make it too runny), so feel free to experiment and adjust the flavors to your liking. You can taste the mixture as you go, adding more of this or that. Honestly, this dip is even good without being cooked, so feel free to try a scoop or two with some salty chips before tucking it in the oven…you just might decide to leave it out!
If you’re a real cilantro lover, feel free to dump a whole handful on top along with a bit of feta and call it a day!
CILANTRO AND GREEN PEPPER DIP
- 1 jalepeño, all seeds scraped and discarded, minced
- 6 scant cups shredded white sharp cheddar cheese (or two 8 ounce blocks, shredded)
- 4 1/2 cups sour cream
- Cilantro, roughly chopped, amounting to about 1 cup
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch green onions (about seven individual), chopped
- 4 green bell peppers, diced
- olive oil
- feta and more cilantro, to garnish
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the diced peppers in a skillet along with a good glug of olive oil over medium heat until most of the water from the peppers has cooked off and edges are brown.
While the peppers are cooking, combine the chopped cilantro, minced jalepeño (dispose of all the seeds and the white colored parts, as this would make it very spicy!), minced garlic, chopped green onions, zest and juice of one lime, sour cream, and cheese in a large bowl, mixing well. When the peppers are done cooking, add to the bowl, mix, then throw in a pinch of salt and pepper.
When the oven has heated, scoop the mixture into a baking dish. Or, try a bite before popping it into the oven because it’s pretty darn good without even being cooked…you may be tempted to take another bite, then another, then decide to leave it the way it is, chilled and creamy and delicious!
If you decide to resist that temptation, you can cook the dip until just heated through or for up to an hour.
After removing the dip from the oven, be sure to stir to incorporate any pepper juices that may have accumulated around the edges (if you chose to add more sour cream and cheese and less peppers to make it thicker, as previously suggested, there may not be too much juice to incorporate). Allow to cool to room temperature.
Garnish with feta and a whole handful of cilantro, and maybe even an extra squeeze of lime! Serve with tortilla chips and try not to stuff your face too quickly.