Bean and Cheese Dip
Quick Administrative Note: A bunch of people have emailed me about past comments not showing up on posts. When I installed the new commenting software, I had to import all of the old comments into that system. Turns out it takes a little longer than I thought to do this. The good news is that they are almost all done and most of them should be showing now. This is also causing Macheesmo to be a bit slow. It should be back up to normal speed soon!
Also, I know that there’s some issues with the new site showing in Chrome… working on it!
OK. On to more important things. Things like beans and cheese and dips.
Let me tell you what I don’t always love about bean dips. Sometimes I think they are too beany. And I say that as a man that loves beans. So for this dip I ramped up the veggies in the dip and added a good amount of cheese to make it more of a dip and less like just refried beans in a bowl.
Bean and Cheese Dip
Yield: Serves 6-8.
2 cans pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 red pepper, minced
2 poblano peppers, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 onion, minced
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 - 1 Cup water
1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
6 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Cilantro (for garnish)
Tortilla chips (for eatin')
Food Processor (like I say... helpful, but far from essential)
1) Mince up veggies into very small pieces. If you have a processor, just give them a quick whirl in the food processor until they are minced, but definitely not a paste.
2) Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat and when hot, add all the veggies.
3) Cook for about 5 minutes until veggies are soft.
4) Drain beans in a colander and then rinse quickly under cold water. Add beans to veggie mixture.
5) Cook for a few minutes until beans are really soft.
6) Either use the processor to blend up the entire mixture until smooth (you can also use a blender at this point), or add the water to the pot and mash up the beans with a fork or masher until they are pretty smooth. If you're blending or processing, add water until smooth. If you don't have a processor the dip may not end up quite as smooth, but just call it rustic and eat it anyway.
7) Add dip back to the pot if you processed it and heat over low heat. Add the cheese to the pot and stir until melted. Add spices and taste for salt and pepper.
8) Serve immediately with cilantro and chips. The dip is great warm or cold.
Starting the dip
The cool thing about this dip is that it’s actually good at any temperature. And it’s a lot more flavorful then that stuff in a can that you find in the chip aisles.
You’ll need these guys to get started.
Since this is a dip, you really need to mince your veggies. You can 100% use a knife for this obviously, but I was in a hurry so I just roughly chopped everything and took out most of the seeds and gave it a whirl in my food processor.
Of course, if you use a processor you also run the risk of over-processing the veggies. If you make a soup, you’ve gone too far!
But getting them pretty finely chopped is great. Literally this is like 3 seconds in the processor so don’t just turn it on and walk away or anything. If you do happen to over process it a bit, it isn’t the end of the world since we’ll be blending it all together later anyway.
Cooking this down
These veggies have a lot of flavor as is, but we can cook them a bit to pull out even more flavor.
In a medium pot or pan, add your butter until it’s melted. 6 Tablespoons sounds like a lot maybe but it’s really not considering how much dip we’re making. We’re basically going to make re-fried beans in this pan as part of the dip so the butter helps with that. If you wanted to be totally traditional you could use lard as well.
Once the butter is hot, add all your veggies and cook until they are soft, probably 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir pretty regularly.
While your veggies cook, open your beans, drain them in a colander, and give them a quick rinse under cold water. Then add your beans and spices (besides cumin, you could add some paprika, cayenne, or maybe a pinch of chili powder) to the pot and cook them until they are hot.
Finishing the dip
You have a few options at this point. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to add this whole mixture back to the food processor (or blender) and blend it until smooth. Add some water to the mixture until it’s smooth. The amount of water you’ll need to add will depend on a lot of variables so I can’t give a firm amount, but just add it 1/4 Cup at a time until the mixture is really smooth and blending easily.
I probably added about 3/4 cups of water.
Then add this all back into the pot to heat up again so we can melt the cheese!
But Nick. What if I don’t have a blender or food processor? I think you could still make this. As you cook the beans in the pot, just mush them up really well using a fork or masher. Mix in the water and continue to mash. Eventually I think it will mash up just fine. It might be a little more rustic than with the food processor, but it’ll still be delicious.
Put this slightly ugly brown mixture over low heat and once it’s hot again, add all the shredded cheese and stir until melted.
Then taste for salt and pepper. Mine definitely needed a good pinch of both. Then serve it up with chips and cilantro on top if that’s your thing.
This is really delicious. The dip has some heat and loads of flavor from the veggies, beans and cheese. As I said, it also stays a pretty smooth consistency when it’s cold so it’s fine to serve at any temperature.
I think it’s best warm though because then the cheese is really melted and awesome.
This might seem like a bit of work for some bean dip, but trust me, your guests will love it. Or if you don’t have guests you can just house the whole thing by yourself. Either option is fine.