Thursday, January 20, 2011

Super Bowl Six-Layer Dip

I’ve never been a big football fan, but for some strange reason, I’ve really gotten into it the past few weeks. And who have I been rooting for? None other than the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately, they lost their playoff game this past Saturday, which means I don’t really care about watching the Super Bowl for the game itself, but I’ll be tuned in to the commercials and eating good food during the game. Enter this dip for game time diversion.

Everyone loves seven-layer dip, but it usually involves ground beef, which I am obviously not cool with. And I’m kind of over meat substitutes (Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, I’m looking at you), so I just left out the seventh layer and made this a six-layer dip. Blasphemy, I know, but it’s tasty, I swear, and you’ll never miss that seventh layer.
Although there are quite a few components (six, in fact!), none of them are complicated to make and the whole thing comes together in about a half hour, which is not too bad if you ask me, the queen of taking 2 hours to make dinner when I say it will be ready in 45 minutes.

No obscure ingredients here, just simple stuff you can get at any store. The key to the success of this dip is making it all from scratch – no scary pre-made gummy guacamole, no jarred and over-onioned salsa, no canned refried beans (although yes I did use canned black beans, but they were sodium-free, so there), and cheese you shred by hand (because the pre-shredded stuff has all kinds of odd ingredients in it to keep it from clumping and spoiling – no thank you).

So no matter who you’ve got at your Super Bowl party, this dip is sure to please everyone – meat eaters, vegetarians, Jets fans, and Steelers fans alike.


Super Bowl Six-Layer Dip
serves…well, you decide how many people it serves – makes one 9” platter

For the pico de gallo
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1-2 large jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the rice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup long-grain rice
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon tomato paste

For the refried beans
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic
1 can (15 oz) sodium-free black beans
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the guacamole
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small clove garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

4 ounces cheddar or jack cheese (I used 2 ounces each of white cheddar and Colby jack cheese), shredded on the large holes of a grater

½ cup sour cream (low-fat works just fine)


Make the pico de gallo
Finely chop the tomatoes and transfer to a medium bowl. Cut the jalapenos in half and remove the ribs and seeds. Finely chop and add to the bowl. Add the cilantro and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.

Make the rice
Heat the canola oil in a small pot set over medium heat. Peel and finely chop the garlic, then add to the pot when the oil is hot. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the cumin and cayenne pepper and cook for another 10 seconds, stirring frequently. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the water, tomato paste, and salt, and stir well to combine. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Make the refried beans
Heat the canola oil in a small pot set over medium heat. Peel and finely chop the garlic, then add to the pot when the oil is hot. Cook for 30 seconds, than add the can of beans and the liquid. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is thick but still has some liquid remaining, about 10 minutes.

Make the guacamole
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh out of each half and into a medium bowl. Use a fork to gently mash the avocado (leave some large chunks) and sprinkle the lime juice over the avocado. Peel and chop the garlic, then sprinkle the salt over the garlic. Use the edge of your knife to scrape the salt over the garlic – you’ll end up with a paste. Transfer the paste to the bowl and add the cilantro, then mash the mixture to combine. Don’t overdo it – you want some chunks of avocado to remain.

Assemble the dip
Make sure the beans and rice are hot so that the cheese melts. If necessary, reheat both.
Spread the refried beans in the bottom of a 9” glass pie plate or other similiarly-sized dish. Spread the shredded cheese evenly over the beans. Spread the rice over the cheese. Top with the guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo (the order really doesn’t matter, but finishing with the pico de gallo is easier since the guac and sour cream are easier to spread over the rice).

Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
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