Day 2 of Super Bowl Dip frenzy featuring Muhammara. This is a delicious dip recipe made with roasted red peppers, chili pepper, chopped walnuts and pomegranate molasses. Muhammara, pronounced [mu-HUMM-a-da](Maureen Abood), is an amazing discovery and could be the best party dip ever.
Roasted red pepper dip has its origin from Aleppo, Syria. It is typically served as part of mezze. To generalize, mezze is the Middle Eastern equivalent to Spanish Tapas. A selection appetizers featuring spreads, cheeses, several meats, and served with drinks. We served Muhammara with grilled chicken for dinner last night and I thought it was out of this world. I could not stop myself from spreading it over everything on my plate. I showed great restraint not to dollop this dip all over my salad.
If you are ever looking for an alternative to hummus, Muhammara is a good substitute. Nonetheless, you will have nothing to lose if you want to serve both. I believe there is always room for more. The walnuts make this dip of roasted red peppers thick and creamy, and the olive oil smooths the texture. Additionally, pomegranate molasses adds a touch of sweetness to counter the spice of the hot peppers.
My research revealed that there are as many versions of this dip as there are recipes, and almost as many different pronunciations. (Food Network pronunciation is [moo-hahm-MRAH].) So please feel free to play around with the amounts of each ingredient. After all, the more you make this dip you will develop Muhammara into your own special creation. I adapted this recipe of Muhammara from two recipes, Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts and Pomegranate by Amanda Hesser from Cooking at New York Times, and Muhammara from 101 Cookbooks.
Tips for success making Red Pepper Dip: Muhammara
Roast the peppers on a hot grill, under the broiler, or over the flame on a gas burner. You want to get the whole surface of each bell pepper really charred. It is a lot easier to peel off the skins when the peppers have a good char, followed by a good steam in a covered bowl.
I used Aleppo pepper flakes, but feel free to use any dried red pepper flakes you have. You can also use a fresh hot chili pepper. Roast the chili with the red bell peppers, peel off the skin, and add according to how spicy you want it to be. You can buy Aleppo pepper flakes at specialty spice markets or on Amazon.
Toast the walnuts. Toasting nuts brings out the flavor by releasing the oils and makes a big difference in their flavor and texture. You can toast walnuts by spreading them out on a sheet pan and place in a preheated 350˚F oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully so they do not get scorched. The walnuts are finished toasting when they are slightly darker and have a toasty-nutty aroma.
Pomegranate molasses is concentrated pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice which is cooked down and reduced to a thick syrup. You can make it or buy it at specialty markets (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Korean Markets, Middle Eastern Markets, specialty grocery stores, or Amazon).
For a simple shortcut you can buy jarred roasted red peppers, or from the olive bar in the deli section of a grocery store. You will need the equivalent of 3 whole red bell peppers.
Muhammara is also delicious with:
Be forewarned, this dip is very addictive.
Roasted Red Pepper Dip: Muhammara
- 2 lbs red bell peppers 2-3 red bell peppers
- 1 Tb Aleppo pepper or dried red pepper flakes, or 1 small fresh hot chili pepper
- Up to 1 ½ cups toasted walnuts coarsely chopped
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 Tb pomegranate molasses
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tb olive oil more for garnish
- Pita bread for serving
Roast the red peppers (and fresh chili pepper if using): Turn the oven on to the broiler setting. Cut the red bell peppers in half and place them on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil, and put the peppers under the broiler*. Broil the peppers until the sides are charred all over. This will take some time, about 10 - 20 minutes. You will need to watch the peppers closely during the broiling process. The more it is charred the easier it is to peel the skin off the bell peppers.
Once the peppers are charred, immediately put them in a bowl large enough to accommodate all the peppers and quickly cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam in the bowl for 15 minutes.
Once steamed and cool to touch, rub the skins off the peppers and remove the seeds and pith. Rough chop the peppers and place in the blender, or food processor.
Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, combine half of the chopped walnuts and the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl to process. You might need to add the ingredients incrementally depending on what small appliance you are using. I used an immersion blender and the dip got very thick until I added the roasted red peppers. Blend until smooth and add more of the walnuts to reach your desired consistency. If the dip is too thick you can add a small amount of water, two teaspoons at a time.
Add the olive oil and process until very smooth. The dip can have some texture to it, but you want a smooth consistency.
Let the dip rest on the counter, or covered in the refrigerator if longer than one hour. Serve the muhammara at least one hour after you make it. Muhammara is best served at room temperature. Drizzle the dip with extra olive oil, ground cumin and chopped walnuts. Serve with plain or toasted pitas.
Muhammara will last in the refrigerator for one week.
Toast the pita bread.
Turn on the oven to 350˚F and cut each pita into 8 triangles and place on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the pitas in the oven and bake until lightly browned and crispy, about 10 to 20 minutes.
*If you are using a fresh hot chili pepper, broil and remove the skin at the same time with the red bell peppers. Add the amount of chili pepper to the dip to satisfy your desired level of spice and heat.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.
Who: Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots.
What: Super Bowl LI.
Where: Houston TX and televised on FOX Network.
When: Sunday Feb. 5th 2017, 6:30pm EST.
Halftime show: The ever so talented Lady Gaga.
All those questions are answered, but the most important question remains, what are we going to eat?
Whether you are staying at home or going out to friends, this central food question is on everyone’s mind. The Super Bowl is a food grazing phenomenon with established traditions that has grown in popularity for the past 51 years. Like Thanksgiving, certain foods are a must have. My friend Alan believes the Super Bowl is not the Super Bowl unless wings are served. I also believe dips fall into the must have category and Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is the perfect stand-in.
It is hard to believe that Spinach Artichoke Dip needs any improvements. Still, as the saying goes, “Everything tastes better with pork,” totally applies to Spinach Artichoke Dip. Adding bacon to this traditional dip turns an “Oh yum,” into, “Wow. What is this? It is incredible.” Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is a powerhouse dip. It is familiar and new at the same time, and well worth the extra time it takes to cook the bacon.
This recipe is an oldie of mine. Well “oldie” is a relative term and I can’t believe that I am considering 2005 in the oldie category. Yet, some foods and food trends have a short lifespan. Additionally, I am one to frequently change around my food ideas for any party. Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is not a passing trend, but there when you need an appetizer on the quick. This recipe stands the honored test of time and continues to be a reliable recipe for a crudité platter, or chips and dip.
I got this recipe from a Food Network series, Party Line with the Hearty Boys. I enjoyed the show and was sad that it did not last very long. The hosts Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh came across as fun easy-going guys and with a collection of delicious and reliable recipes. The only changes I made to this recipe, was to mix in some yogurt with the sour cream to lighten it up.
Tips for making Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon
Use any combination of sour cream and Greek yogurt. The original recipe used 100% sour cream. You can also try crème fraiche. This is a thick dip, so regular yogurt will not work as well as Greek yogurt does. I also believe the full fat versions of both ingredients taste a lot better than the low-fat versions.
Cooking the shallots and garlic makes a big difference in this recipe. Raw garlic and onions can overwhelm the dip, and they do not age well. Also, cooking the shallots and garlic extends the lifespan of a dip from 24 hrs to a couple of days.
This can be served cold, but I think it is easier to dip chips, and tastes better when it is closer to room temperature.
If you have non-pork eaters, portion out some of the dip before you add the bacon so all your guests can enjoy this dip.
Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and Crispy Pita Chips
For the Dip
- 1 Tb vegetable oil
- 1 shallot minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 10- oz package frozen chopped spinach thawed
- 2 cups sour cream or 50/50 combo of sour cream and Greek yogurt
- 1 6- oz jar marinated artichoke hearts roughly chopped
- 10 bacon strips cooked up very crisp, crumbled
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Crispy Pita Chips
- 1 Tb kosher salt
- 1 Tb dried basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 12 tsp ground black pepper
- 14 tsp celery salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 8 pitas cut into 12 wedges each
For the Dip
Heat up the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium low heat. Once warm add the minced shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook the vegetables and stir frequently until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Put the thawed spinach on a double layer of cheesecloth*. Bring the ends together and twist
forming a tight ball. Squeeze all the excess water from the spinach. Place in a medium size mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients to the bowl with the spinach and carefully mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Allow the dip to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. If you are not going to serve it right away, store the dip covered in the refrigerator.
Spoon the dip into a serving bowl and serve with the crispy pita chips.
For the Crispy Pita Chips
Arrange an oven rack to be in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
In a small bowl mix the Kosher salt, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper, and celery salt until evenly combined. Add the pita triangles into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixed herbs and spices over the pita wedges. Using clean hands, toss the pita wedges and spice mix until it is thoroughly mixed together. Drizzle the oil over the pitas and mix thoroughly until the pita chips are evenly coated with oil and spice mix . Arrange the spiced pita triangles on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the pita chips are crispy and lightly browned. Let the pita chips cool for 10 minutes before you arrange them for serving.
Serve with the spinach artichoke and bacon dip.
* If you do not have cheesecloth, you can use a fine mesh strainer and push the water out of the spinach using the back of a large spoon. If you have a clean flour sack kitchen towel, it will work just as well as cheesecloth.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.