Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip Recipe

Chuy's (pronounced "Chew-eez") is a texmex restaurant here in Austin that is something of a cultural institution. They've grown and changed over the years, but in most ways eating lunch at Chuy's last week is about the same as eating lunch at Chuy's in 1985. If you've ever heard the slogan "Keep Austin Weird", Chuy's is part of the "weird" they're referring to. That said, the food is really good and you get a lot of it for not a large price.

Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip was, for a long time, a "secret" item that wasn't on the menu: when you'd sit down and the server set you up with chips and salsa, you could ask for Creamy Jalapeno and they'd happily bring it to you for free. It's rather less of a secret these days, but the fact remains that it's awesome: I just Googled on "chuy's creamy jalapeno" crack and got 156,000 hits.

Long story short, when a friend mentioned that you can find the recipe online and make it at home, I knew I had to try it. So here's the recipe -- afterwards I'll talk a little bit about why it is what it is.

- mix 1oz Hidden Valley Ranch dressing with
- 8oz of mayo,
- two heaping tablespoons of sour cream, and
- one 4oz can of pickled jalapenos, then
- stir it up and add buttermilk until it's at the desired consistency

It turned out great! The whole family loved it.

The one thing I flubbed is that I didn't puree the jalapenos; they were chopped in the can, but the dip probably would have been better if they jalapenos weren't so "chunky". But it still turned out really good. It's great with corn chips or as a sauce (hot or cold) for flautas and whatever.

If you go looking, there are a lot of recipes out there that claim to be "Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip". I looked at a number of them and concluded "okay, this is Chuy's, the emphasis is going to be on making good stuff with a fast, simple simple process so that even someone who works at Chuy's can make it when they're hung-over and / or under the influence of a controlled substance" (your average Chuy's employee resembles one of the cast of Linklater's Slackers)(and, in fact, may have actually appeared in the movie). So I eschewed things like "minced garlic" and "dash of lime" and went for simple, and it worked.

Actually, I came up with two recipes: recipe #2 is the same as above, except it also has tomatillo sauce mixed in. For whatever reason I couldn't find it at my local HEB yesterday.

In the interest of full disclosure: if I wanted to make an exact replica of the Chuy's dip, I'd probably need to use ingredients from Sysco. Like many restaurants, Chuy's uses a number of Sysco products in their kitchen (or so I am told). So "real" CCJD is probably made with Sysco Ranch Dressing and Sysco Pickled Jalapenos.

Future plans: Chuy's also makes the best chile relleno on earth. Wish me luck.

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