Layered Bean Dip

by Joseph Erdos
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9layerdipI love bean dips for a party, especially layered dips, because of the colorful and flavorful layers that can be created in a bowl. It reminds me of the colored sand I used to pour into jars as a kid. It's exciting and unexpected to see and break through the different layers of one of these dips to discover unique flavors.

Most layered bean dips start with a can of ho-hum refried beans, but this dip starts with a flavorful pinto bean purée made with a quick sauté of onion and garlic. Then comes the Pace Picante Sauce followed by a layer of mashed avocados, which tastes much like guacamole. Cooling sour cream finishes the layers.

The chunky toppings include shredded sharp cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, scallions, and cilantro. It's an easy dip that comes together in no time at all. It can even be made a few hours ahead (minus the toppings) and refrigerated before your party guests arrive. This is a must-try recipe to add to your Super Bowl celebration.
Layered Bean Dip

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Haas avocados, cubed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 8-ounce jar Pace Picante sauce
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup pickled sliced jalapeños
4 scallions, sliced
tortilla chips, for serving

Warm oil in a sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup water. Simmer until most liquid evaporates. Mash the beans while cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Let cool.

Combine the avocados, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mash the avocados until smooth.

Spread the cooled bean mixture in the bottom of a large straight-sided glass bowl. Spread over with Pace Picante Sauce. Dollop the mashed avocados over the sauce. Spread the sour cream over the avocado layer. Top the bowl with cheese, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, scallions, and additional cilantro. Serve dip with tortilla chips.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, but above all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.

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