1 cup chopped spinach, poached and squeezed dry
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts, marinated and drained
2 pkgs Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1/2 tsp. Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/3 cup Half-N-Half
1/2 tsp. Minor's Roasted Bell Pepper or Chicken Base
1 tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1/2 cup yellow onions, finely diced
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup parsley, minced
Salt & coarse-ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup bacon bits
1 large bag Tostados for dipping
First, cook down the spinach in a saucepan with just enough chicken or vegetable broth to create a scant amount of poaching liquid (but do not boil it!) About 4 to 5 minutes cooking time should do. Then while the spinach is on the stove, drain the marinated artichoke hearts and chop them up finely. When everything is ready, set it aside until you prepare your cream cheese paste.
To do that, place the work bowl and blades onto your food processor. Then drop in the cream cheese (broken into small chunks) and add in the hot sauce, the Half-N-Half, the chicken base, and the vegetable seasoning. Then turn the machine on. Ideally, you want to 'cream' the mixture to a silky smooth consistency (but don't make it watery). About a minute or two at full speed should do it nicely.
Next, transfer the cream cheese base you just made to a large mixing bowl. Then with a rubber spatula, fold in the diced onions, garlic, green onions, parsley, chopped spinach, and chopped artichokes. Then mix everything together thoroughly until fully and uniformly blended. At this point, taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.
Finally, place the finished dip into a serving bowl, sprinkle the top lightly with paprika, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and stash it in the refrigerator for at least three hours to 'marry' before serving. The dip is best if served ice cold with crispy tostado chips.
Chef's Notes: The chicken and red bell pepper base, while ordinarily available only to restaurateurs, is routinely sold to the public at Dorignac's Food Center on Veterans Blvd. Also note that only a food processor will produce the consistency necessary for the dip -- a blender is way too restrictive when it comes to total mixing. Finally, the spinach and artichoke flavor in this recipe won't really intensify until after the dip rests in the refrigerator for several hours. Try to give it time to develop.
Trick --- For a little extra tartness, spoon about 1/3 cup sour cream into the entire dip.
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