Wilbur. Wilbur quite obviously wanted love and acceptance, but I fear he may have underestimated how much folks could actually love and accept him. Bacon is good company. Bacon loves other foods. Bacon makes everything better. Bacon is good people.
I love making fall appetizers for tailgating and gatherings, and one of my most requested is bacon dip. It’s not that it is fancy or unique compared to other creamy baked dips. It’s just so darn good you can’t stop eating it.
This recipe is versatile. You can add jalapeños and/or sausage to make it more of a jalapeño popper dip. The cheese can also be varied, although I recommend Swiss because Monterey Jack has a slightly higher fat content. Having said that, when you read the ingredients you will be asking yourself “What is her major malfunction? This screams fat.” When you bake this, a lot of the fat will come to the surface, and I always take towels and pat the top before I put the bacon crumb topping on. Likewise, this is one of the few times I recommend bagged cheese instead of hand-grated. The former is pre-tossed in cornstarch, which will serve as a binder, and let’s face it — it’s easier. Football season is no time to be stuck in the kitchen. Happy fall, y’all.
Creamy Bacon Dip
2 8 oz. blocks cream cheese (softened)
1 cup grated Swiss or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s)
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions (thinly sliced), green and white parts separated
1/2 sleeve butter crackers (crushed)
Cook bacon until just crisp. (My shortcut tip for this is to put the entire package in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Then use kitchen shears to dice the cold bacon slab into 1-inch pieces. Watch and stir frequently. It makes the pieces uniform so it will cook more evenly.) Remove bacon from pan and let drain on paper towels. Reserve drippings
Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Swiss and the white part of the onions. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Remember those drippings? Pour off the top layer and take a couple of tablespoons of the part that still has the cooked bits in it and combine with the cheese mixture. (I know that’s scary, but this is where the magic happens.)
Add half of the crumbled bacon and combine thoroughly. Spread mixture in a 9x13 casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pat top with towels if needed. Combine crushed crackers and remaining bacon and sprinkle evenly over the dip. Continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Garnish with green onion tops and serve warm with assorted crackers or bread. Cheers!
Sharon Little is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times News.