7 Layer Bean Dip

It's not a party without 7-layer Bean Dip! This one is made with hot refried beans and topped with cheddar cheese, chilies, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and sliced black olives.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups refried beans, from one 15-ounce can or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) of bacon fat (or 1 strip of bacon, cooked and minced), optional
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, Tabasco chipotle sauce, or adobo sauce, more to taste (or plain chili powder to taste)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green Anaheim chiles (canned) OR 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños (more to taste)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 hot house tomato, cut in half horizontally, seeds and juice gently squeezed out and discarded, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, or if you can get it Crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream)
  • 1 cup sliced ripe black olives, from a 15-ounce can
  • Corn tortilla chips, to serve

Method

1 Prepare the refried beans: Heat the refried beans in a medium sauté pan or cast iron skillet. Stir in enough water to get a creamy, easily dip-able consistency, about 1/4 of a cup.

The taste of refried beans is greatly enhanced by bacon fat; we'll add a teaspoon to canned beans or a tablespoon or more to taste if we are making the beans from scratch.

If you don't have bacon fat, you can cook up a strip of bacon, chop it up fine and add that to the beans.

If you are trying to avoid pork, note that most canned refried beans are made with added lard, so check the ingredients. You can use olive oil instead, to help the consistency of the beans.

Mix in the chipotle chili powder (or Tabasco, or adobo, or regular chili powder) and cumin to taste. Note that the avocados and the sour cream will cool down the spiciness of the beans considerably, so you can afford to be a bit more spicy than you might think.

Stir in salt to taste, depending on how salted your refried beans are to begin with, and depending on how salty the tortilla chips are that you are serving with the dip.

2 Spread on serving dish, top with cheese: Once the beans are hot and bubbly, spread them over the bottom of a warmed serving dish. Immediately add the shredded cheese so that the heat from the beans helps melt the cheese.

(The cheese doesn't need to be completely melted, but even if it is just a little, it will help the dip stay on the chip.)

3 Layer on toppings: Layer on the chopped green chilies, chopped avocado, chopped tomato. Spoon on the sour cream (or crema Mexicana, crema fresca, or even cream fraiche).

Top with sliced green onions and olives.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips.