Folks, I am about to share with you the holy grail of dip recipes. There is a tex-mex restaurant (the original opened in Austin, Texas, now a mini-chain) called Chuy's which, only by request, will serve what's called "Creamy Jalapeño" with the standard chips and salsas.

Its foundation is a standard ranch dip. Smooth in consistency and a wonderful rich taste like any good ranch dip. But this dip is uniquely spicy and refreshing, and incredible on anything. People go to Chuy's sometimes just for the dip, or what they can order on which to put the dip. The dip is the key, the draw, the beacon we follow. Ask anyone who's been. People beg for the recipe. They threaten to drink it straight from the bowl. People not in the know look longingly at the mysterious green-flecked dip. They look foolish, and you sympathize because it is that good.

I know how it's made because they delivered a bowl to my table that had not been fully processed. Shocked, I quickly jotted down what I saw. After some tinkering and modification (noted at the end), I have arrived at a recipe. What's incredible is that the addition of 2 simple ingredients to a well-known standard is such alchemy.

The Unauthorized Chuy's Creamy Jalapeño Dip

  • 16 oz. (or 24, it matters little) sour cream
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix powder
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves (more or less to taste)
  • 3/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices (more or less to taste)

Put the ingredients in a blender (or use a nifty hand blender) and blend until smooth. Eat immediately or, even better, chill for a few hours letting the flavors meld.

The ingredient volumes can be tinkered with to suit your particular taste, without sacrificing the basic qualities of the dip. It is good on chips (tortilla or potato), tacos (particularly of the shrimp, fish, or fajitas variety), burritos, salads (thinned), hamburgers (like mayonnaise).

It should be noted that Chuy's Creamy Jalapeño dip is a salad dressing. It is not made with sour cream, but by all estimation buttermilk. I use sour cream instead of buttermilk because it is easier to handle and is a little thicker.

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