When we were going to school we lived in a small attic apartment (the one with the paper dial on the oven). We had the privilege of living above a few different families and got to know them in ways that only a shared water heater and paper thin walls can. When our first downstairs neighbors moved without notice we were bequeathed a few precious weeks of solitude and the contents of their overflowing mailbox. Apparently, they didn’t put in a forwarding address. Since we are good, upstanding citizens we did email them to let them know we’d saved their mail for them. However, they never came by, so we inherited a stack of credit card offers, Stampin’ Up! newsletters, and a copy of Backpacker. Eventually, most of the stuff made its way to recycling, but the issue of Backpacker was well read with worn, dog-eared pages. There was a whole section on portable pub grub and this dip was one of them. We’ve consumed this recipe in the majestic shadow of the Tetons, in a cave during a downpour on a backpacking trip in Grand Staircase Escalante, and most recently on a trip to Maroon Bells. This dip is so easy, yet so delicious. I’ve tried a few more complicated recipes at home, but even when I’m not in the wilderness this is still my Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip of choice. If you’re taking it on the trail I highly recommend serving it with pita chips because not only are they delicious, but they won’t crumble in your pack.
Backpacking Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
- 1 can evaporated milk (5 oz)
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 12 oz jar quartered and marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
- 2 C fresh baby spinach, lightly chopped
- 2-3 TBSP fresh basil, chopped (or 2-3 tsp dried basil)
- 3/4 C Parmesan and Romano cheese blend
- At Home: Place spinach, basil, and cheese in a plastic bag.
- In Camp: Whisk evaporated milk, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan until smooth. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat; add in artichoke hearts, spinach, basil, and cheese. Stir and cook for 6-7 minutes or until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted.
Note: I actually forgot the cornstarch on this last trip, so the dip is usually thicker. Even though it was a little runnier it was just as tasty.