Roasted Red Pepper Dip: Red and Patriotic
This is an old but good recipe, straight out of the Junior League of Houston’s third cookbook, Stop and Smell the Rosemary (see 50 Years of Junior League Cookbooks here). SSR came out in 1996, the year I joined the League as a provisional. One of my first Junior League memories is of sitting in the ballroom at one of the many large membership meetings I was required to go to that year, watching cookbook chair Roni Atnipp present this new book that she had been working so hard on. My memory is so clear that I can picture her talking on the stage, from my vantage point, in a chair to the far right of the stage. I didn’t know who Roni Atnipp was, but as I heard her touting this beautiful new book, I couldn’t help but be in awe. I ordered a case – 6 books? 9? – on the spot, sight unseen.
Now, 23 years later, I can say that SSR was one of my better purchases (and I’m still in awe of Roni Atnipp and her many subsequent cookbooks). I’ve used it so much that it is literally in tatters – the sign of a really good cookbook. One of the first recipes I made from it is Roasted Red Pepper Dip, and I’m still making it. With a cream cheese base and lots of flavor, including a little heat from pickled jalapeños, this is one app that everybody seems to love. We serve it with pita chips or crackers or even carrots. Or, serve it as they suggest in SSR - with blue corn tortilla chips. Perfectly patriotic for the Fourth.
2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (or substitute a 4-ounce jar of roasted red peppers)
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted dry
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 pickled jalapeños, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 bunch green onions, white part only, coarsely chopped
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the broiler and place the rack at the top of the oven. To roast the peppers, slice them in half from the stem down. Place them, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 10 minutes or so, until almost all of the skins are blackened. Remove the peppers from the oven, and wrap them loosely in the foil that lined the baking sheet – just bring the edges of the foil up and crimp them to seal, forming a packet in which the peppers can steam. After 15 minutes, peel the skins off the peppers.
Cool the peppers, then press them between paper towels to remove excess liquid. Otherwise, the dip will be too runny.
Process the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, 1 jalapeño, cilantro, green onions, cream cheese and salt in a food processor until smooth. Correct seasonings, adding more jalapeño if desired. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips.
Editor’s Note: See our Cooking Buzz column for more recipes from The Junior League of Houston.
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