A base of homemade ranch is flavored with fresh jalapeños, cilantro, and tomatillo salsa in Creamy Jalapeño Dip, a copycat recipe of the popular Chuy’s dip!
Happy San Jacinto Day, y’all! In Texas-speak, this date commemorates the 1836 battle during which Texas won its independence from Mexico (take that, Santa Anna). And if that’s not reason to celebrate with some Creamy Jalapeño Dip, I’m not sure what is! 😉
I actually decided to share this recipe when I realized that Cinco de Mayo was coming up. But then I noticed today’s historical significance (even though you’re probably not reading this until tomorrow — minor details) and I decided to go for the double whammy. In case you’ve never had Creamy Jalapeño Dip, it’s a bowl of deliciousness served alongside chips and salsa at the eclectic Tex-Mex chain, Chuy’s…a restaurant that started in Austin but — according to my quick perusal of their website — is now spread across a variety of states (you lucky Ohioans).
Anyway, last summer when we were between houses and staying at my mom’s for a few months, the Chuy’s near her house became our Friday night, Tex-Mex fix, home-away-from-home. I believe it’s well-documented that I’ve always been a queso girl (and still am to this day, foreverandeveramen), but when they bring out your chips and salsa at Chuy’s, they also bring out that aforesaid small bowl of Creamy Jalapeño Dip. And it’s so addictive that I typically situated it at arm’s reach and inhaled it faster than anyone else at the table. In fact, it pretty much made me forget about ordering queso until our crew was at least two bowls in on the jalapeño dip front. It’s that good, folks.
So today, in honor of Sam Houston, I decided to attempt an at-home copycat version of the recipe. Most Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Dip copycats start with dry Ranch dressing packets. But wanting to keep things a bit more from-scratch, I started with my Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing as a base, which I then flavored with fresh jalapeños, fresh cilantro, and jarred tomatillo salsa. It’s quite possible that Chuy’s uses fresh tomatillos, but since they’re not always easy to find at the grocery store, I figured using salsa would simplify things. Once you gather your ingredients, simply give everything a good puree in the ol’ blender or food processor and voilà…silky, flavorful Creamy Jalapeño Dip!
But WAIT…you shouldn’t enjoy it quite yet. Sorry! First you need to chill your dip for at least 4 hours — preferably 8 or more hours — to allow the flavors to blend and intensify. Popping it in the fridge will also thicken it up a bit. The dip at Chuy’s is actually fairly runny, as is this copycat when you first blend it up…but chilling will help remedy that. As for the flavor, I always recommend tasting it just before serving in order to adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.
The heat of the jalapeños is likely to intensify a smidge once the dip chills for awhile. Creamy Jalapeño Dip is intended to be fairly mild, with the jalapeños contributing more flavor than heat, since their seeds and membranes get removed before pureeing. However, if you want a spicy dip, just leave some of those seeds and membranes intact before whizzing everything together. But if you decide to retain all of them, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
If you eat at Chuy’s, you can actually get this concoction poured over your enchiladas or burrito or Chuychanga as a sauce. I think it would also make a fabulous salad dressing. Or you can simply drain it straight from the bowl, as fast as your little chips will carry it to your mouth. After all, sometimes one’s usual vat of queso has earned a well-deserved break.
So what are you waiting for? I feel certain that back in 1836, the Texian army celebrated their April 21st victory with cast-iron skillets of Creamy Jalapeño Dip for all…and so should you! 😉
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