The simplicity of offering house guests chips and salsa has become rather outdated. Not only is it cheap (unless you made everything from scratch), but it takes the least amount of effort in preparation. By all means we don’t need to have fresh oysters or fancy hors d'oeuvres waiting for the arrival of guests. But if we like someone enough to invite them over, the least we can do is provide something filling to eat as we happily drink the night away.
I came to this predicament hours before I had guest coming over to watch
halftime performance the Superbowl. Although I could have easily baked
some fancy frozen wings from Whole Foods, I had too much pride. I wanted to
create something unique, but also finger food appropriate. As I was sipping a
cold bottle of Guinness, I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to test
out a beer infused dish on my friends. Thus I’d like to present cheddar + beer
+ smoked sausage = dip deliciousness. This recipe is a more eclectic
version of fondue, injected with flavorful sausages, sweet onions, and a bottle
of sharp dark beer.
serves about 6-82 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Dijon or whole-grain mustard
One 8-ounce package cream cheese
One 12-ounce bottle dark beer such as Guinness
4 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
6 drops of Tabasco sauce
Coat the inside of a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and sauté for 2 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the sausage and cook until it is no longer pink in color and is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off any fat from the sausage. Add the mustard, cream cheese, and beer, stirring until the cream cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese, a handful at a time, until it is all incorporated. Add the Tabasco sauce, transfer to the baking dish, and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Needless to say, everyone enjoyed dipping pieces of French bread into this sinful concoction. It took less than an hour and was friendly on my wallet.