Did you know that the Super Bowl is the second largest food holiday in the good old US of A, second only to Thanksgiving? And what’s even more fun about it, is that while our Thanksgiving menus contain foods that are a bit more elegant, Super Bowl parties are typically all about “getting your junk food on”! Now, how much fun is that?
Mexican Layer Dip is arguably the most popular dip around when it comes to the Super Bowl. I should know: I did a lot of research to see what recipes people are searching for, and this is right at the top of the list.
But lets be honest: I’ve had Mexican layer dips where the first bite I took made me want to wipe my mouth out, and get those calories back again. In the name of convenience, people cut all kinds of corners that they shouldn’t, and the dip they end up with proves that point: gray, gummy, and lacking in freshness and flavor. This is a dip that can become mediocre (at best!), fast.
Let’s not do that! Let’s bump it up a notch or six, and make the best Six Layer Mexican Dip Ever for this year’s Food Fest of Junk Food, the Super Bowl.
All you have to do to make a GREAT Six Layer Mexican Dip is to haul out your cutting board, put on some good music, and do a fair amount of chopping, and a bit of sautéing. You can do it!!! With your favorite tunes playing, this will be fun!
While you’ll be tempted to take some shortcuts, here are some shortcuts I do, and do NOT recommend:
- Do not use canned refried beans, unless you must. Why not? Because…they kind of smell and look like dog food. Canned beans that you drain and rinse are OK, and will work nicely. Beans you cook yourself from scratch will given you the very best flavor and texture. They are what I use. If you want to know how I cook mine from scratch (and I brine mine, AND use a ham hock for flavor, here’s a link.)
- Do not use nasty grey guacamole dip that’s already prepared. Making your own guacamole takes literally 5 minutes. The taste of fresh vs. pre-fab guacamole is like the difference between night and day. When you shop for avocados, let them ripen on your counter till they “give” just a little when you press them lightly, and then store them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
- Sour cream: using low fat sour cream is perfectly acceptable. Using plain Greek yogurt might be an even better substitution for those looking to cut a little fat where they can (and that would also increase the protein in the dish). So, you don’t have to use full fat sour cream unless you want to. (I wanted to.)
- Fresh pico de gallo absolutely makes this dish, and is so much better than jarred salsa! Take a few extra minutes and do the chopping! You’ll be so glad you did! If you know a delicious brand of pico do gallo from the refrigerated section of your grocery store, you can use that, and save a few minutes, but it won’t have the same incomparable freshness of the pico de gallo that you make yourself.
- Grate your own cheddar. When you buy it pre-grated, they coat those little pieces of grated cheddar with some kind of filler to keep them from sticking to each other, and your tongue can feel and taste the difference. Do everyone’s taste buds a flavor favor, and take the couple of minutes it takes to grate your own. I use my food processor, and it grates cheese in 2 shakes of a lamb’s tail.
Super Six Layer Mexican Dip
2 T. olive oil
2 c. cooked pinto beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1 t. cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1 c. frozen corn kernels
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 ripe avocado, chopped
1/2 c. grape tomatoes, chopped
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. Lawry’s garlic salt (it has parsley in it: it makes a difference to me, and so I specify the brand)
1 c. sour cream
For the Pico de Gallo:
1 c. chopped grape tomatoes
1 t. minced jalapeño
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
!/4. c. chopped, rinsed, and drained purple onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 t. fresh lime juice
salt, about 1/4 t.
3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
tortilla chips, for dipping
For the sofrito (sautéed aromatics) for the beans, and the corn:
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and add the onions and green pepper, and sauté until vegetables are translucent and tender about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté one minute more. Add in the cumin, and stir and sauté for an additional minute. (This will toast the spice, and the cause its flavor to bloom.) with about a 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper.
For the beans:
Pour the beans and 1/2 of your sofrito mixture into the food processor, and pulse until it looks like a rough purée. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary. Spread the bean layer into your dish. I chose a 12″ Le Creuset pie dish, but a rectangular 11×13″ baking dish will work, or whatever container you’d like.
For the corn:
Pour the corn kernels into the pan with the remainder of the sofrito. Sauté for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cilantro leaves. Spread that layer over the beans.
For the guacamole:
Cut the avocado into chunks, place in a bowl and add in tomatoes, lemon juice, and garlic salt. Mash with a pastry blender or a fork. Taste and add more garlic salt or lemon juice, to taste. Spread over the beans and corn.Spread sour cream over the guacamole layer.
For the pico de gallo:
In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, red onion, lime juice and salt. Let it hang out a bit for while, together (maybe 10 minutes or so), while you grate your cheddar cheese. Spread the pico de gallo over the sour cream.
Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours, if possible. That helps the flavors to come together.
Serve with fresh, crisp tortilla chips.
- You will need chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and chopped grape tomatoes for more than one portion of this recipe. So rock out the chopping of those ingredients all at once.
- You’ll need a total of 3 cloves of garlic, minced; 1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, chopped; and almost a half a cup of chopped cilantro. Those amounts will be divided among the layers of the recipe.
- The chopped onion, green pepper and minced garlic and cumin that you sauté (that’s called a sofrito, by the way) will be divided in half and used with the bean layer and the corn layer.
- When you make the pico de gallo, you chop the red onion, rinse it in a strainer under running water, and then drain it, to remove some of the astringency and harshness of the flavor of raw onion. Heat levels can easily be adjusted to taste by the addition of more jalapeño.
- Taste each layer as you prepare it, and season to taste, with sea salt. If anything tastes bland, try adding salt, or when appropriate, a little more lemon or lime juice, to bring the flavors alive.
If this looks good to you, won’t you share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, or pin it on Pinterest?
What will you be making for your Super Bowl party?