03 March 2009

Tasty Layered Mexican Dip

One of my most favorite comfort foods is Mexican Refried Beans. I love the creamy texture of mashed beans, oozing with the essence of onions, garlic and cumin. I don't have any authority on the authenticity of the way I make my beans, but they taste good - and that is good enough for me. Recently I have enjoyed using the beans as a base for a layered "dip" which I try to eat more like a salad (if you add enough shredded lettuce, it counts as a salad, right??) with just a few tortilla chips for garnish.

I think the most important base to refried beans is lard. And when I say lard, I am not referring to that pearly white stuff you find in the large chain grocery stores. I am referring to the toasty, slightly caramel colored stuff you get from a butcher or local farmer. It has not been refined, and it is packed with rich porky flavor. I always start with a nice dollop of lard in the bottom of my skillet, to which I add plenty of chopped onions and garlic. I like letting the aromatics cook down and get slightly browned in the lard. Then you know it is time to add the rest of your ingredients. Any bean works in this dish, but I prefer some type of black bean or pinto bean. You can add spices that sound good to you, or try some of my suggestions below. I would let your tastebuds guide you - really the only requirements to outstanding refried beans, if you ask me, are lard, onions, garlic and beans!

Delicious Layered Mexican Dip

Refried Beans (recipe below)
Grated Cheese
Salsa (homemade or purchased)
Shredded Lettuce
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Cilantro
Chopped Pickled Jalapenos

Layer the refried beans, cheese and salsa in an oven-proof skillet. Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese is bubbley. Layer remaining ingredients on top of the salsa and serve with tortilla chips.

Refried Beans

1-2 T good lard
1 medium chopped onion
1 T minced garlic
1/4 c chopped jalapenos
1-2 t cumin (or cumin seeds, crushed)
1-2 t freshly crushed coriander
15 oz can black/pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 c frozen corn (optional, but highly recommend)
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the lard and add the onions and garlic. Sautee until onions begin to brown slightly. Add the spices and beans and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Use a potato masher to thoroughly squash the mixture into desired consistency. I like it fairly smooth, so I mash for awhile. Turn the heat down and stir the frozen corn into the mashed beans. At this point you made need to add a little water or chicken stock to thin the beans out if you want a looser texture. You can serve as-is as a delicious side dish or use in any dish that calls for refried beans.


Heather Williams said...


This looks great! Thanks for posting it:)


Josie said...

Heather - thanks for stopping by! I am trying to be a more active blogger but have had some set backs lately... hopefully I will keep up with it :)