Recipe: Collard Green Dip with Bacon Crumbles

Collard Green Dip 1 Whether you're headed to a holiday potluck and need a picture-perfect appetizer, or you just want something more interesting than a predictable cheese spread, look no further.

This tempting dip is The One. Not only will it hold its own among the finest Thanksgiving entrees and desserts, it goes double-duty by fending off all the kitchen-grazing vultures who usually lurk around the mashed potatoes (you know who you are...)

The fresh collard greens in this dish offer a more interesting flavor and texture than their over-used sibling know as spinach, and the subtle heat of the red pepper flakes keeps it from being boring. Served in an over-stuffed sour dough bread bowl, can an appetizer get much better?

I think not.

COLLARD GREEN DIP WITH BACON CRUMBLES

Source: Adapted from Southern Living

1 tablespoon olive oil 2 bunches fresh collard greens, rinsed and chopped 5 bacon slices, chopped 1/2 sweet onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1/4 cup dry white wine 12 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven at medium heat. Add collard greens and cover, allowing to wilt for about 10 minutes, stirring as necessary. Remove to a separate bowl.

Cook bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven.

Sauté onions in hot drippings until tender, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Pour in wine and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven. Stir in collard greens, cream cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated. Transfer to a lightly greased 1 1/2-qt. baking dish (I used a sour dough bread bowl). Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Broil 6 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Sprinkle evenly with bacon. Serve with toast points, pita bread, or tortilla chips. YIELDS: 4 cups

Kitchen tip: I don't drink white wine very often, so I find it helpful to have the small "picnic packs" of Chardonnay on hand (4 bottles per pack), that way I always have fresh bottle on hand. They don't cost much or take up very much space. Win-win for everyone!

Collard Green Dip 2