Classic Fiesta Dip

From Nourished: A Memoir of Cooking and the Arts by Marilyn Raff      

Prep. Time:  30 Minutes     /     Serves 6-8

  • 16-18 oz refried black or pinto beans – try half and half
  • 2/3  cup prepared taco dip
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, skinned, minimally mashed with a fork
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • ¾ tsp salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper, divided 
  • 1 cup seeded, chopped tomatoes- drain any juices
  • ¼ cup salsa, mild or spicy
  • ¾ – 1 cup shredded  cheddar or Mexican cheese
  • 20 sliced black or green olives
  • Tortilla or corn chips

 1) Remove the refried beans from the can and, in a medium bowl, mix well with three tablespoons of the taco dip.

2) In another medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the remaining taco sauce. Set it aside.

3) Gently stir together, but not overly, the avocados, the mayonnaise and the lemon juice. Set aside.

4) In a 9 inch pie dish, spread out the refried bean mixture. Sprinkle in half of the salt and pepper.

5) Atop the bean mixture, spread a thick layer of the sour cream.

6) Spread the avocado mixture on top of the sour cream.

7) Add the thin layer of salsa. Add the remaining salt and pepper.

8) Finally, combine the tomato pieces with the cheese and sprinkle them on the salsa layer.

9) Cut the olives in half.  In a decorative pattern, arrange the olives along the edge of the pie and press down slightly.

10) Chill for one hour or up to a few hours.   Serve the dip with corn or tortilla chips, or cut-up fresh vegetables, like carrots, celery sticks and the like.

Tips and Tweaks:

• For more spice, add ½ teaspoon or more cayenne pepper to the bean mixture or the sour cream topping or both. 

• For still  more spice stir in 1  4-oz can of diced green chilis with the salsa.

• For oniony flavor, chop two-three scallions, using white and green parts, and mix in with the sour cream topping.

• For a different taste, use half sour cream and half mayonnaise in step 2.

• To make the appetizer more substantial, or to serve as a main dish, saute, in a medium frying pan with one tablespoon of oil, one quarter to a half pound of ground beef with one half onion, chopped. Cook on medium- low 5-7 minutes, until the beef looses its pink color and the onion turns translucent and slightly golden. During the last 2 minutes reduce the heat adding two minced garlic cloves. Cook 1-2 minutes. Mix this in with the beans.  If using the meat, warm the dish in a preheated 325°F oven for fifteen minutes before adding the olives. If using  more than half a pound of ground beef, switch to a larger pan or casserole, but not too large, otherwise your layers will be paperthin! 

• Mix in herbs like oregano, thyme, cumin and cilantro with the beans, sour cream topping or avocado spread for more accent, if desired.

• To reduce caloric intake, take note of the fat content of the refried beans, and maybe switch to another brand. In addition, change the sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheeses to low-fat selections.

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