Spinach and Bacon Dip

Spinach and Bacon Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 2 strips applewood-smoked bacon
  2. 1 ½ pounds fresh spinach, washed and stems removed; or 2 10-ounce packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  5. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  6. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup heavy cream
  8. ¼ cup milk
  9. ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  10. 1 ½ teaspoons anise-flavored liqueur
  11. 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  12. 1 teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence
  13. ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  14. 3 tablespoons sour cream
  15. ¼ cup grated fontina cheese
  16. Ritz® Crackers, for serving
Instructions
  1. Set a 10-inch saute pan over medium heat. Place the bacon in the pan and cook until most of the fat has rendered, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until bacon is cooked through, caramelized and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain. Once cool enough to handle, chop bacon into ¼-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. If using fresh spinach, bring a large saucepan filled two-thirds full with water to a rolling boil. Add the spinach and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until spinach wilts and water returns to a boil. Remove from heat and strain spinach in a colander. Rinse under cold running water until cool.
  3. Using your hands, squeeze spinach to remove as much liquid as possible. You should have about 1 ½ cups of spinach. Place spinach on a cutting board and chop finely; set aside.
  4. In a heavy medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not allow garlic to brown. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is a light-blond color, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. While whisking, slowly add heavy cream and milk until smooth. Continue to cook until it comes to a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese, anise-flavored liqueur, lemon juice, Essence, and salt; stir until well combined.
  6. Remove from heat. Add sour cream, chopped spinach, fontina cheese, and bacon. Stir until the cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately with the Ritz® Crackers
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