Caramelized Onion Dip and Green Chile Pork Pies

Football food for the win

Here at Ginger and Baker, we take our football food pretty dang seriously. Whether tailgating, heading to a potluck or putting on a spread at home, we’ve chosen two of our favorite dishes that win fans just about every time… no matter how the game might turn out. Slow cooked onions are the secret to our homemade onion dip, and our cheeky little green chile pork hand pies travel well and definitely play well with others.

While onion dip made from a tub of sour cream and a soup packet might come together in a snap, once you’ve tasted the rich, savory-sweet caramelized onion flavor in this made-from-scratch dip, you may choose amazing over fast.  

The more slowly you caramelize the onions, the more they develop a deep umami (savory) flavor. In a perfect world, Chef Deb suggests taking your sweet time and cooking the onions for at least an hour, but the 30 minutes we suggest will still give you off-the-charts flavor.

Our green chile pork pies are another game-day go to, bringing flaky, cheesy crust wrapped around juicy pork filling and just enough heat and spice to keep things interesting. Baked in a muffin tin, these pies may be small, but the taste is big-time good. 

Since you’ll be taking the time to caramelize onions for the dip, we’ve added a couple time-savers for the pies. You can make them with homemade crust and fresh roasted chilies or you can use store-bought refrigerated crust, add your Pepper Jack cheese to the filling, and swap out fresh roasted chilies for canned. Whichever way you choose to put them together, bring along some salsa or avocado sauce for added color and flavor. 

Caramelized Onion Dip

by Chef Deb Traylor

  • 2-3 large yellow or white onions
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco (or other vinegar-based hot sauce)
  • fried leeks for garnish, optional, see recipe below

Cut onions from root to stem into 1/16 inch thick slices.

Place onions, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small saucepan, cover and cook over medium low heat for 8-10 minutes until onions are limp and have released their liquid. Remove the lid, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the onions caramelize, about 15-20 minutes.  You want the onions to eventually be as dark as pecans. The slower you go and the darker you take the onions (without burning them), the more intense the caramelized flavor will be. Once the onions are caramelized, cool completely.

Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl using beaters or a sturdy spoon until smooth. Add sour cream, blend completely. and then add mayonnaise and hot sauce. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in the onions and all the pan juices, mixing to incorporate. Cover and let chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. Once chilled, add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with fried leeks, if desired. Yield: 2 cups. Recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Fried Leeks

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced into 1/2 rounds

Heat oil on medium heat in a fry pan, add leeks and cook until they began to turn medium brown and crispy. Drain well on paper towel. Use to garnish dip just before serving.

Green Chile Pork Pies with Pepper Jack Crust

by Chef Deb Traylor

  • 1 recipe Pepper Jack pie dough, see below, or 2 rolls refrigerated pie dough
  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 small white onion, minced or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-2 large green chiles (Anaheim, Hatch or 1 small Poblano), roasted, skinned, seeded and chopped. Or 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium, add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, add green chilies, pork, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and cook mixture for 5 minutes. The pork mixture should be undercooked, it will finish cooking in the pies. Allow mixture to cool and add lime juice and cilantro. Note: if you want to test the mixture for seasoning, cook off a spoonful in a small skillet, taste and adjust seasoning.

Roll out one of the dough discs to ¼-inch thickness and cut into twelve 4-inch circles with a cookie cutter. Line the bottom and sides of the muffin tins with each circle, pressing and shaping dough to fit. Chill pan in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Roll out remaining disc to ¼-inch thickness and cut into twelve 2-inch circles. Reserve any leftover dough for another use. Dock or use a fork to make holes in the top crust for venting or letting out steam.

Remove muffin tin from fridge, divide filling evenly among cups, and press the 2-inch circles on top, pinching and sealing each pie.

Brush each pie with beaten egg, and bake until the tops of the pies are golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin. Serve with your favorite tomato or tomatillo salsa or avocado salsa. Makes 12. 

Basic Pie Dough (with Pepper Jack)

  •  2 1/2 cups flour
  •  2  tsp. fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled
  • 1/4 cup Tbsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled (or 6 Tbsp. additional butter if not using shortening)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. ice cold water
  • 1  tsp. lemon juice or vinegar

Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add chilled butter and shortening and toss to completely coat with flour. Using your hands or a fork, quickly smash the pieces of butter/shortening between your thumb and fingers to flatten each piece to the size of a dime.  Gently stir the flour and butter to make sure you flattened most of the pieces. Stir in shredded cheese. 

Combine ice cold water and lemon juice (or vinegar), and drizzle half of the lemon water over cold flour mixture and stir until the dough just starts to come together or turns “shaggy”.  We prefer to use our hands but a fork works nicely too.  Begin adding a few more tablespoons of water at a time, stirring between each addition. Once most of the water has been used (but you have a tablespoon or two remaining) use your hands to gather the shaggy strands into a ball and knead the dough two or three times. If you have dry bits remaining in the bowl, add a little additional water.  (Your dough may appear wet or dry depending the climate in your area, so you will need to go slowly and adjust accordingly.) 

Gather the dough in a ball, dust your counter with a tiny amount of flour, and quickly pat dough into a small flat disk. Cut dough in half and then stack one piece on top of the other, flour side down. Use the heel of your hand and press the dough down and divide in half once more. Cover both pieces with plastic wrap.  Chill the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight. This dough can be made a day or two in advance. Makes enough for two 8 or 9-inch pie crusts.

Notes and comments:

  • Pie crust can be made with or without the cheese. Or, add the cheese to the filling. If adding cheese to filling, add a few pinches of cayenne to the egg wash prior to brushing the tops for added flavor.
  • We suggest undercooking the pie filling so you are not left with a dry pork pie, but it makes it difficult to taste for seasoning. So, just cook a spoonful off in a small pan and give it a taste. It’s what we do in professional cooking, we never blindly follow a recipe! Even if we make it 100 times, we alway taste each recipe made.
  • These can be prepped and frozen, just omit the egg wash after the tops are sealed. Freeze for up to a month. When ready to bake, remove them from the freezer, place them on a sheet pan, egg wash the tops, and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • If you prefer a spicy pork pie, add 1-2 chopped Serrano peppers or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper to the pork filling.

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