Warm & Cheesy Spinach Dip

My husband thought that he didn't like spinach for at least the first (maybe even the second) year we were together. When I finally convinced him to try it again, guess what?!? He did like it! Especially when it's cooked with lots of cream & cheese & topped with bacon like in this! This is seriously better than any dip I've had in a restaurant. You'll love it. And you can certainly add artichoke hearts to it too, I make it both ways. Ingredients:
2 (9-10oz) boxes of frozen, chopped Spinach, thawed
4 tbsp of Butter
3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup shredded White Cheddar Cheese
12 oz jar of Artichoke Hearts, drained & coarsely chopped (optional)
3 pieces of Bacon cooked & crumbled (optional)
Hot Sauce (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a chef's pan or large sauce pan over medium/ high heat. Add the onion, season with salt & pepper, & cook until soft. Then add the minced garlic & cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the flour & cook 1 minute, stirring or whisking constantly.
Slowly add in the cream & chicken broth stirring or whisking to incorporate. Cook until it starts to boil.
Add the Parmesan Cheese & Hot Sauce (This is optional, add it if you'd like some heat.) & stir until it's melted. Turn off the heat & let it cool for about 5 minutes.
While your cheese sauce is cooling, drain your spinach. The best way that I have found to do this is to us a a kitchen towel. Make sure you are ok if it is tainted green though! I've always been able to get mine clean, even a white one. But...just in case, use an older one. Open the towel out & lay it on the counter. Dump the thawed boxes of spinach out on the the middle of the towel. Pull up the 4 corners & squeezed the liquid out over the sink. Make sure you squeeze hard & get all the liquid out...you do not want a watered down spinach dip!
It should end up a tight little clump of spinach. Stir the sour cream & the drained spinach into the cheese sauce. (Add in the artichoke hearts too if you are using them.) Make sure you mix well so the spinach gets incorporated well in the cheese, it tends to clump together. Check your seasonings, add salt & pepper of needed.
Pour the spinach & cheese mixture into a greased casserole dish. I used a small, glass casserole dish. Sprinkle the white cheddar on top, then add the crumbled bacon pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, just until he cheese is bubbly on top. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, bread sticks, crustini or baguette slices.
Cheesy yummy goodness!
This recipe is based on a recipe that I got from my mom several years ago. She got it off the internet, but I don't know the original source.

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