Seven layer bean dip

The Super Bowl deserves something above and beyond the usual guacamole and salsa. Don’t get me wrong. Well prepared, these two standards are always welcome. But since Russ has been looking forward to this game all year (five weeks), something out of the ordinary would be nice. Despite all the typical Mexican elements, Seven Layer Bean Dip is not from Mexico, originating in Texas with one of its first print appearances in Family Circle magazine in 1981. Always called Seven Layer Bean Dip, it turns out that the seventh layer is loosely defined and usually whatever you wish to use as a garnish. Some recipes add cooked ground beef and call that the seventh layer. A garnish of chopped cilantro and red onion works for me. To be honest, it’s more like a six and a half layer dip.

In our part of Mexico, it’s tomato and avocado season. We have a bounty of locally grown, organic tomatoes and avocados. The tomatoes are going into the freezer, and were eating guacamole almost every day to keep up with the rapidly ripening supply. I’ve never frozen tomatoes before, but it sounds easy. Pop into zip-lock bags, and they’re good for a year.

I have a bone to pick with most recipes that give the preparation time as 20 minutes, 30 minutes, when you know darn well it’s going to take at least an hour. Recipes are able to do this is by listing the ingredients as how they are to be prepared. Minced, chopped, peeled, refried, grated. One of the most popular recipes online states preparation time for Seven Layer Dip as 20 minutes. One look at that, and you can be assured that the clock starts once every ingredient is prepped according to the recipe list. But I don’t buy grated cheese, minced onion, sliced olives. Some of you may buy canned refried beans or salsa in a jar. But you have the option, if you have the time, of doing everything from scratch, and ending up with the freshest flavors.

Seven Layer Bean Dip serves 6-8

  • 2.5 cups (16 oz/453 g) refried black beans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (comino)
  • 4 ounces (113 g) grated cheese (I use half sharp cheddar and half manchego)
  • 1 cup (4 oz/113 g) sliced black or Greek olives
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (237 ml) salsa fresca
  • 3/4 cup (6.5 oz./184 g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Tostadas or tortilla chips
  1. Heat refried beans until starting to bubble. Stir in cumin. Salt to taste.
  2. Grate cheese and set aside.
  3. Slice olives and set aside.
  4. Make a simple guacamole by blending mashed avocado, minced serrano or jalapeño chiles, lime juice and salt.
  5. Make salsa or open your jar.
  6. In a shallow dish (I used a glass 9″/22.86 cm pie plate) spread hot beans. Cover with grated cheese, then sliced olives, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and finally, garnish with chopped cilantro and red onion.
  7. Serve with sturdy tortilla chips.

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Queso fundido

Día  de la Independencia, Mexico’s Day of Independence, normally finds us in Mascota watching the parade of beautifully costumed señoritas, the dashing caballeros on horseback, and the cute children dressed as revolutionaries from the 19th century. But it was not to be this year, as the governor of Jalisco had called off all festivities and gatherings because of covid. It rained much of the day anyway, so it was a good day to stay home and celebrate with queso fundido, melted cheese similar to fondue, but better. Better because of the additions of chorizo, rajas of poblano chile, and salsa roja.

This dish is commonly served as an appetizer at restaurants, but we made lunch of it. It was close to our quota of cheese for the month, but what a way to have a month’s worth of cheese! Actually, it proved too much to polish off for lunch, so leftovers became the filling for the next morning’s omelet, which Russ enjoyed as much as the fundido.

Queso Fundido serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 poblano chile
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 small onion, sliced
  • large pinch of salt
  • 3 oz (85 g) chorizo
  • 8 oz. (227 g) cheese, grated
  • 4-6 corn tortillas, warmed
  • salsa roja
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  1. Toast and peel poblano chile. Cut into strips (rajas). Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 °F (232 °C) with rack at top of oven.
  3. Sauté onion until just starting to brown. Add poblano strips, cook 2 minutes more. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. In same skillet crumble and cook chorizo.
  5. Place cheese in lightly oiled, oven-proof dish or skillet. Bake until cheese is completely melted, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and spoon poblano/onion mixture and chorizo over top.
  7. Return to oven and bake about 8-10 minutes, until cheese is starting to brown at edges and has browned spots on surface.
  8. Serve bubbling hot with warm tortillas, avocado slices and salsa.

Notes ~

~ To make a vegetarian version, substitute sautéed mushrooms for the chorizo.

~ Use a cheese that melts easily. I used 4 ounces of sharp, white cheddar and 4 ounces of manchego. Other cheese suggestions are Monterey Jack, muenster, Oaxaca string cheese or mozzarella.

~ Queso fundido is common in northern Mexico, where it is served with flour tortillas.

~ In different regions of Mexico, chile guajillo and chile ancho are called chile teñir. I know. I’m confused, also.

© 2009-2020 COOKING IN MEXICO ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

All photos and text are copyright protected. Do not copy or reproduce without permission.