Spicy sausage dip is a great appetizer for any New Year’s Eve party. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Ring in the New Year with this spicy sausage dip

I make a dip so delicious that it becomes the star of any party.

I’m not joking.

If you’ve been searching for a dish to share at this year’s New Year’s Eve party, you gotta try this: Make spicy sausage dip.

It’s a warm appetizer of crumbled sausage, zesty tomatoes, hot peppers and melted cream cheese — a combination so tasty when served with chips that it will be devoured and raved about long after it’s gone.

I’ve been bringing this dip, which I have perfected over time, to parties for more than seven years.

It is so tasty and easy to make that even after seven years, I don’t tire of the recipe. I bring it to friend and family gatherings by request — and it is requested all the time. It is my prize dish.

With several hot ingredients, the dip is spicy enough to deserve its name but not to the point where only the bravest can enjoy it. If it’s too spicy for you, the recipe can be easily tailored for a milder palate.

I make the dip with Jimmy Dean hot pork sausage, original Rotel tomatoes (with the green chilies), three jalapeño peppers and Cholula hot sauce. Every ingredient but the cream cheese adds some heat.

Here’s a tip when preparing hot peppers for the dip: Wear disposable gloves or plastic sandwich bags on your hands when you’re seeding and dicing the peppers. Wash your hands immediately if you touch them.

If you’ve ever absentmindedly rubbed your eyes after working with hot peppers in the kitchen, you’ll understand. The oils in the peppers, which is called capsaicin, gives them their heat and can burn your skin and eyes. So be careful.

(When I was a kid, I played “kitchen” with some cayenne peppers from my next-door neighbor’s garden. I touched my eyes afterward without realizing how disastrous of an ingredient it was to include in my sandbox cake. I cried a lot. I remember the burning sensation to this day. I also learned my lesson: I never borrowed anything from my neighbor’s garden ever again.)

I like to serve spicy sausage dip with Fritos corn chips. I buy two bags of the scoop variety in the party size, although tortilla chips also work well. The bigger the chip, the more dip to enjoy with each bite.

If you bring the dip to a party, you’re officially on dip duty. It is your responsibility to refill the dip bowl when it gets low and to keep it warm. Just pop it in the microwave for a minute to heat it back up. Or use a mini crockpot.

One way that I have perfected the recipe is by simply expanding it to make more. My recipe makes two quarts of dip. If each serving is two tablespoons, that equals 128 servings of spicy sausage goodness. That might sound like too much, but it won’t be.

You can cut the recipe in half, but even with two quarts, this dip will be gone fast.

One of my dearest friends, Casey Klein, asks for this dip every New Year’s Eve. He hosts a great party, so I gladly make and bring his favorite dip.

“Sara’s spicy sausage dip is something that satisfies the palate and is simply delicious due to all of the game-day ingredients,” Klein said. “Only problem is that, no matter how much you make, there’s never enough.

“Don’t ever depend on leftovers, as there won’t be any.”

Just how much does he love that dip? When I asked him to explain why he enjoys it so much, Klein texted me a meme of Gollum — the character from “The Lord of The Rings” who is obsessed with the One Ring — with the phrase: “We wants it. We needs it.”

You’ve been warned. After you try the dip, you’ll likely become obsessed with it, too.

Dip etiquette: If you bring this dip to a party, your friends will ask you for the recipe. Mark my words. If you decide to share it, I recommend you include the following spicy-sausage-dip clause: If we’re attending the same party, you must give me first dibs on the dip when we’re asked to bring a dish to share.

Spicy sausage dip

1 pound ground pork sausage

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies

1⁄2 cup diced hot peppers

Hot sauce

Place ground pork sausage in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is crumbled and brown, about 7 minutes. Drain grease and stir in diced hot peppers. Cook until slightly tender, about 2 minutes.

Turn down heat to medium-low and melt in cream cheese. Stir in undrained diced tomatoes with green chilies. Once the mixture is well blended, add hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Serve warm with corn or tortilla chips.

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Yields: 2 quarts.

Nutrition per serving (2 tablespoons): 73 calories, 6 grams total fat (3 grams saturated fat), 20 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 152 milligrams sodium.

You Gotta Try This is a column by Features Editor Sara Bruestle that runs periodically in The Herald. Contact her at 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @sarabruestle.

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