It must be football time in America! I know it because I see Easter candy in stores already, which has already replaced Valentine’s Day candy. Chocolate teddy bears are wandering desolate January alleys with their Mickey’s grenades and plotting tearful revenge against marshmallow Peeps (massive exaggeration, dearies, but I HAVE A POINT).
I’m one of those “just here for the food” people at Super Bowl parties, and I could not be any more content about it. Born this way, baby, you know? Somebody has to take the seat with the terrible viewing angle but excellent snack-table access… Especially if this somebody has long arms that no sleeves are ever long enough for, but that’s probably just a “me” problem and I should just start wearing sweet neon leg warmers on my arms always.
I am just as shocked as you are that I get invited to things–though it’s probably just the food everyone’s after. You can’t send an Evite to a portable version of artichoke-jalapeno dip and its flaky, cozy dough pocket date, obviously.
However, you can make such hotshot snacks, and then ride their popularity coattails. Adding bacon to this scenario, while totally optional if you’re looking for vegetarian Super Bowl food, is pretty much the equivalent to dropping the mic. You’ve won, and you didn’t even need to tackle a 350-lb dude to do it. Just sit back (preferably with me, near the food) and continue being stellar, my friend!
This is infinitely customizable to your tastes. Like I said, the bacon is optional, and if you don’t love spicy food like I do, feel free to leave out the jalapeno (or remove the seeds and membranes to tone down the heat). Also, feel free to play with the cheese options–pepper jack and parmesan would be great additions/substitutions.
Nobody said artichoke hearts were pretty. Let’s move on.
This, though… This is what it sounds like when doves do the opposite of crying. Or something. You understand, right?
This isn’t bad either… Not at all.
This is where this thing becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
I like to doll these up, and it’s definitely worth the extra effort of egg wash, then a sprinkle of cheese, then freshly cracked black pepper and coarse salt. Then you poke them a few times to keep ’em from exploding in the oven, which is obviously the most glamorous step of all.
DIVAS, I tell you.
This is what it looks like when you tear into one. Have mercy.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, diced
- 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 12 ounces frozen and thawed artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 bunch green onion, white and green parts, sliced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 cup jack cheese, plus extra for the top (note: I think a jack-parmesan combo would be even better. Consider!)
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To make the crusts, use a food processor to pulse together the flour and salt just until combined, then add butter, a few pieces at a time, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Whisk together the sour cream and lemon juice in a small bowl and pulse to incorporate this in as well, then add the ice water until the dough sticks together in big lumps. (Alternatively, you can do all this by hand with a pastry cutter.) Turn out onto a floured surface and, being careful not to overwork the dough, form it into a cohesive ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Crisp the bacon in a skillet until well browned and crunchy, then remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain most of the fat from the skillet, leaving maybe a tablespoon or so.
- Return pan to heat and add the artichoke hearts, green onion, and jalapeno. Cook over medium heat until artichokes are soft and cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, combine the artichoke mixture with the bacon, cream cheese, and 1 cup of jack cheese (or whatever kind of cheese you're using). Season to taste with salt and pepper and set mixture aside. (The cheese might melt a little--no big deal.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare two large baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. To assemble the hand pies, divide your refrigerated dough in half and let it stand at room temperature until pliable, about 5 minutes. Roll out each half on a floured surface until about ⅛ inch thick. Cut out about six 4-inch circles out of each sheet. (I used the cover of my burr grinder–I’m sure you have something circular roughly that size around… If not, you could freehand, or cut the dough into squares instead.)
- Altogether, you’ll have about a dozen hand pies, plus a few more if you re-roll the dough scraps (which you’re not supposed to do so as to not overwork the dough, but I always do anyway because I hate wasting food). I ended up with 16.
- Drop a heaping tablespoonful of the filling into the middle of each dough circle (or square). Brush a little water on the outer edge of each circle, then fold over and press the edges firmly together, then use the tines of a fork (or your fingers) to make a decorative edge. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
- Combine the egg with 2 tablespoons water to make egg wash. Brush each hand pie thoroughly with the egg wash, then sprinkle a little coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper over each pie, followed by extra jack cheese.
- Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.