Most grocery stores carry small cans of chipotle peppers, often seen as "chipotles in adobo sauce". From burgers to dipping sauces, this is the secret ingredient in most of the chipotle recipes popping up on menus everywhere. Chipotles can be added to any recipe begging for smoky spice. We especially love it in a salsa of fire roasted garden tomatoes. And, of course, this dip that we can't get enough...
Smoky Chipotle Cheese Dip
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 lb aged cheese, cubed (I use 1/2 gruyere or comté and 1/2 aged english white cheddar)
4 green onion stalks
1 small to medium canned chipotle pepper, plus 1-2 tsps of its sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 dash cumin
Pulse all ingredients (except for 2 green onion stalks) in a food processor to desired consistency, from smooth to chunky. The amount of chipotle pepper determines spice level. You can start with 1/2 of a small pepper and blend in more as desired. For a milder dip, use less chipotle and more paprika.
I suggest investing in a good quality smoked paprika. The difference between that and a stale grocery store brand is immense, and you'll find yourself sprinkling it on everything. I buy this 2-pack on Amazon for $10 because it comes with a hot and mild version.
Finely chop the remaining green onion and sprinkle over the dip, along with a dash of paprika for color. Can be eaten right away, but especially delicious if ingredients are allowed to mingle a few hours.
Variation 1: Add a handful of chopped tomatoes to the finished dip, microwave until warm, and top with fresh chopped cilantro and chopped green chilis for a spicy, melty queso that's as good drizzled over eggs or burritos as it is scooped with tortilla chips.
Variation 2: For that 1970s suburban goodness, form the dip into Chipotle Cheese Amazeballs. After the dip is made, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Remove and roll the dip into one large or several smaller balls. My grandma would have then slathered the whole ball with cocktail sauce. Of course, rolling the balls in slivered almonds is another kitschy party/funeral favorite. Be sure to serve it in Tupperware!