appetizers & hors d'oeuvres,  party food & snacks,  vegetarian

Lager + Gruyère Cheese Dip

Who is ready to get their cheese on?  

This girl, for sure.

At any given moment, we have a metric ton of cheese in the fridge. Not to brag, but we do have a covetable stash at our fingertips. Suffice it to say, WE.LOVE.CHEESE.

When I open the refrigerator door, this is what I see (in no particular order): a chub of goat cheese; two blocks of feta; 3 bags of various shredded cheeses (for emergency use); a sizable hunk of Gruyere; an aged Parm with the most beautiful crystals in it; Cotswold; Brie; fresh mozzarella; smoky gouda; and a half-eaten block of creamy Cambozola (someone has been nibbling).

Also in the fridge is the obligatory American “cheese” that The Man uses on his breakfast sandwiches.

What I don’t see is the Huntsman I bought before I went on my Girls’ Trip. (Someone has some explaining to do!)  Also missing is the Manchego; the wrapper is in the trash bin. I am not salty about that. Manchego is one of The Man’s cheeses.

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding. We need a larder annex.

I especially love robust cheeses. The mantra that drives my selection is, “the stinkier, the better.” Not as in Limburger stinky, but usually anything ripe and veiny.

So about this recipe…you are about to mix two glorious worlds: the world of craft beer + the world of cheese. This recipe collides these two cosmos into a delicious concoction commonly referred to as beer cheese dip.

Do not flood yourself with shame over sacrificing beer for this recipe. Your beer is okay with this decision.

Because there are so few ingredients, it is essential to use high quality cheese and beer.  So grab a hunk of cheese and a bottle of beer from your stash and let’s get started!

First and foremost, you must choose a “melty” cheese. You want a moist, young cheese that is low in acid. Asiago, Swiss, Gouda or Gruyere are all good choices. For this recipe I used Gruyere which smacks of  salty + sweet + nutty flavors, so I chose a lager (pilsener) with a certain maltiness + sweetness.

The rest of the recipe is all about patience. I mean it.

High temperature = clumping. I cannot stress this enough. Your fats will separate and you will have a mess. Trust me. I had a lot of cheese dip boo-boos before I finally got it right. If you get clumpy cheese, consult My Cheese Heroes below the recipe.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Shred cheese by hand–the waxy coating on the pre-shredded stuff will ruin your day.
  • Shred cheese while it is cold, then bring it to room temperature for easier melting.
  • Once at room temperature, coat your cheese with a dusting of flour. Don’t ask me the science behind it. Just do it.
  • Allow liquid to cool before adding cheese. It should be warmish to the touch. Begin by adding a small amount of cheese to the liquid. If it begins to clump, it is too early. You can easily remove that clump and let the liquid cool off a little more.
  • After it cools some more, add cheese gradually.

How to serve this, you ask?  I love using grilled vegetables for shoveling dipping. Grilling the vegetables caramelizes them, making them a perfect choice. Another option is chunks of a sweetish bread such as Brioche. (Avoid sourdough.) I like pumpernickel because of the color. But you do you.

If you make a bread bowl, save the cap. The chef reserves the right to eat the bread cap. It is a matter of professionalism and quality control. It is my way to test the recipe to make sure it passes muster.

It does.

You will be tempted to drink this dip. That, of course, is up to you. But remember there are hungry cheese lovers awaiting this dip’s arrival.

Cheers!

XXOO  AB

If you make this Lager + Gruyere dip, leave me a comment and tag your photos #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate your awesomeness together!


Top this pool of cheese with crispy shallots. Oh, yeah.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces Gruyere (or another melty cheese)
  • ¼     cup plus 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 12 oz craft lager
  • ¼     cup heavy cream

          S&P

Instructions
  1. Shred the cheese and bring it to room temperature. Once it is at room temperature, toss it in ¼ cup  flour. Coat well.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in remaining  2 tbsp of flour to form a roux.
  3. Slowly add the beer while stirring to incorporate. SLOWLY.
  4. Remove from heat. Add cream and stir. Let the mixture cool. (Test the temperature with your finger. If it is mildly warm, it is ready.)
  5. Gradually add a small amounts of cheese at a time and stir GENTLY and SLOWLY with a fork until all the cheese is incorporated.
  6. Add S&P to taste.

It is best to serve this immediately. If that is not feasible, keep it in a slow cooker on the lowest setting. Stir occasionally.

Suggestions: Top cheese dip with Crispy Shallots and serve in a pumpernickel bread bowl (or a sweetish bread) with soft pretzels, french rounds, or grilled vegetables for dipping.

Crispy Shallots

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 large shallots)
  • 1 cup canola oil
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high until it registers 275°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Increase the heat to high. When the oil registers 350°F,, add the already fried shallots and cook just until they are crispy and well-browned, about 1-2 seconds, keeping an eye on them. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain..

Save your shallot oil for later use. You have just infused it with some amazing flavor.

MY CHEESE HEROES

This is how I learned to fix my mess.  

HOW TO FIX YOUR BEER CHEESE DIP IF IT BREAKS https://craftbeering.com/best-beer-cheese-dip-recipe-gouda-red-ale/

And this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xml4Yaneh0w&feature=youtu.be

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