When I sat down to start menu planning for Super Bowl Sunday, picking a food to represent Kansas City was a cinch – a slow-cooker pulled pork recipe that screams smoky barbecue. Settling on a choice of San Francisco? Not so easy.
The first foods that jumped into my head were sourdough bread and Rice-A-Roni. Not that exciting. A further deep dive brought up garlic fries but without a deep fryer, it wasn’t a reasonable option for me.
Luckily while I was down a Google search rabbit hole, I stumbled upon Anchor Brewing Company and I had a glutinous epiphany.
Started in 1896, Anchor Brewing is one of the oldest breweries on the West Coast. It became a San Francisco staple, thanks to a German immigrant who started brewing beer during the Gold Rush.
Anchor Steam Beer was first produced in 1979 and quickly started to receive national attention. The dark amber lager has a great balance of malty, hoppy aromas which makes it a great beer to cook with.
In a subtle dig to the Green Bay Packers who lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, I decided to whip up a spicy cheese dip that I elevated to the next level with a splash of rich Anchor Steam Beer. You might call it petty, I call it being a Minnesota sports fan. It’s a rich, creamy dip with a little spice and a little smoke that finishes with a refreshing hint of beer layered in.
You’re in luck. I made this until it was perfect and I refused to share it until I had it just right. Why? Melting cheese and working with evaporated milk can be tricky. So I’ve included all of my tips and tricks below to help you make this delicious dip.
First off, whenever making something with melted cheese, buy a block and shred it at home instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. There are additives in pre-shredded cheese that help keep it from clumping inside the package and this affects the way it cooks.
Secondly, to start this recipe you’ll begin by making a roux. A roux is flour and fat cooked together to help thicken recipes and it is a great way to start any cheese sauce because it adds density and smoothness.
Finally, low heat is your friend towards the end of this recipe. Once you add the evaporated milk, you are on curdling watch. Curdling will ruin your dip -- I know, because it happened to me on test run #2. Melting the cheese doesn’t take a lot of heat so play it safe and stick to that low heat.
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ lb sharp cheddar
- ½ lb mild cheddar
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 4oz. can diced green chiles (mild or hot, depending on your preference)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 12oz. can unsweetened evaporated milk
- 1 cup Anchor Steam beer
– In small bowl, combine dry seasonings, mix well and set aside.
– Using a grater, shred cheese and set aside.
– In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and mix well.
– Add onions, minced garlic and green chiles to roux. Mix well.
– Continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning while helping the onions cook.
– Add dry seasonings to skillet and mix well. Cook for an additional 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
– After 3 minutes, reduce heat to low. Allow skillet to adjust to new heat before adding evaporated milk.
– Pour evaporated milk into skillet and mix well. Then add beer and stir until combined.
– Slowly add a small amount of shredded cheese to skillet, stirring until cheese melts and combines into the base. Continue until all of the cheese has been added.
*Note: If you want a thicker sauce, try this trick. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. flour, cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 2 tbsp. cheese sauce. Once it is mixed well, add back into the skillet and stir until the sauce is combined.
– Once you are happy with the consistency, transfer to slow cooker and keep on low heat while serving.
– Serving ideas? Tortilla chips, crackers, apple slices, grilled sausage bites, garlic bread.