Growing up, we were a dip-eating family. My dad was a huge fan of thick, crunchy, kettle-cooked potato chips and dip. I can still imagine him sitting in “his” red reclining dad chair in the evenings, dragging potato chips though a single-serving bowl of clam dip, or in a pinch, an open plastic tub of sour cream. There were strict rules governing the other kids’ dip etiquette. Amounts scooped onto each chip were carefully monitored, and if my dad felt that you were being greedy, thought that you were employing a reckless dip-to-chip ratio, you would be banished from the dip bowl for the rest of the evening. Likewise, if one our grubby little kid fingers grazed the surface of the dip, our dip-eating days were numbered. And heaven help you if your chip should break off in the dip and need to be fished out with another chip. This was a dip-foul of the highest order, and not only would get you eighty-sixed from the dip bowl; it might even get you sent to your room for the rest of the night.
I’m a little older now, and have a daughter of my own. She isn’t eating chips and dip yet, in part because she has no teeth, but mostly because the whole notion of “dip” seems to have fallen largely out of favor. The best of these traditionally-cooked, all-natural, small batch chips are made by the Kettle Brand, produced in the scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon. In business since 1982 when the company sold their chips out of the back of a van, Kettle Brand Chips all but invented the kettle-cooking process, which has since been knocked off by almost every other major potato chip manufacturer.
If there’s such a thing as a “small batch” potato chip company in this day and age, Kettle Brand Chips may be it. They cook real, unpeeled potatoes in small batches for a superior taste and a signature crunch. And a walk through the chip aisle of the grocery store will reveal their constant innovation in unique flavor combinations, including 33 different varieties such as Spicy Thai, New York Cheddar, and Honey Dijon.
We wanted to work up a holiday dip recipe that would play to the strengths of one of these new flavors. Inspired by Kettle Brand Chips “Sweet Onion” flavor, a savory combination of onion, butter, and garlic, layered onto salty, golden potato chips, we created this “French Onion Soup” dip. It’s got all the flavors of traditional French Onion soup in a creamy dip flavored with slow-cooked onions, sour cream, and wine (we selected a bottle also produced in the Willamette Valley, because we’re all about consistency like that). It’s perfect for scooping up onto the “Sweet Onion” batch-cooked Kettle Brand Chips, and I think it’s a recipe that even my dad would approve of.
French Onion Soup Dip
Makes about two cups.
- 1 bag Kettle Brand Chips
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 sweet white onions, very thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons white wine
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 oz finely grated Gruyere
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter into the olive oil, then add onions and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in salt and sugar and turn down the heat to low. Let the onions cook down and caramelize, about 30 minutes, then pour in the wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, Gruyere, and cayenne pepper. When the onions have cooled somewhat, mix them in with a spatula. Allow the dip to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.