This bacon horseradish dip will be a crowd pleaser as you and your loved ones gather to count down the New Year. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

We’ll spend New Year’s Eve pretty quietly this year, I suspect. Maybe you will, too, and this dip would be a fun preprandial accompaniment to a spirited beverage.

Sometimes we put together favorite appetizers to enjoy as a whole meal: savory dip, raw vegetables, olives, cheese, salami, seasoned nuts, maybe deviled eggs, followed by cookies, sectioned clementines, apple slices, grapes, something chocolate. We sit, nibble, sip, chat and congratulate ourselves over how few dishes we have to wash up afterward.

For sure, some of you will spend the evening with friends and this dip works for a crowd, too, easily assembled. Maybe your crowd is old enough to be happy to toast each other on Greenland time and toddle home to bed. Or you might rock and roll to the wee hours, in which case you might need to make this twice in one night.

Lots of households will have the ingredients on hand because they are so useful at any time. If you prefer, knock the horseradish back to tolerable levels, or go full bore using wasabi instead. Instead of bacon, consider going very mild on the horseradish and using shreds of smoked salmon on top, and maybe a few capers.

Forget you ever heard about bacon or horseradish and view the cheddar, sour cream and cream cheese as a matrix for whatever seasonings you like. For example, chili powder and a tablespoon or two of salsa with pepper jack sprinkled over the top. Pass with tortilla chips.

Whatever you do on Saturday night, have a cheerful, pleasant time, and all the best wishes for a happy, healthful, and hopeful New Year from my kitchen to yours.

Bacon Horseradish Dip

Makes about 1 1/4 cups of dip.

1¼ cups, about 3 ounces, shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
3 ounces softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2-3 strips of freshly cooked bacon, finely chopped
Chives or parsley for garnish

Microwave method:

Combine one cup of shredded cheddar with sour cream, cream cheese and horseradish. Beat until very smooth.

Spread in a microwave-safe 9-inch pie plate and zap for a minute at high, then stir and spread evenly.

Sprinkle with the bacon and remaining cheddar. Microwave again for one to two minutes until the cheese is melted.

Sprinkle with chives or parsley and pass with crackers.

Oven method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine one cup of shredded cheddar with sour cream, cream cheese and horseradish. Beat until very smooth.

Spread in a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with the bacon and remaining cheddar.

Heat for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and you can see a little bubbling around the edges of the dip.

Sprinkle with chives or parsley, if you wish, and pass with crackers.

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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...