Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Layered Chili, Cheese, and Roasted-Corn Dip

This layered dip is all you need to make your next party complete, whether a casual cocktail hour, a March Madness game, or just a marathon viewing session of your favorite show on DVD.

  • 2 (16-ounce) drained and rinsed cans pinto beans, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (11-ounce) drained can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup bottled salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar
  • 8 cups baked tortilla chips
1. In a food processor or blender, combine 2 cups pinto beans, the cumin, hot sauce, black pepper, and cream cheese; process until smooth.

Note: It occurred to me that, thanks to the cream cheese, this mixture is almost like a savory cheesecake filling.

2. Spoon the bean mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining, unprocessed beans (about 1 cup).  Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add the corn and garlic; saute for 3 minutes - the corn should be lightly browned.  Remove from heat and stir in the rice, cilantro, and green chiles.

4. To assemble the dip, spread half of the pinto bean mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart (11x7-inch) baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Spread half of the salsa over the bean mixture, and top with the corn mixture.  Top with the remaining salsa, and spread the remaining pinto bean mixture as the final layer.  Sprinkle with the cheddar.

5. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips for a perfect party appetizer.

If you have leftovers, spoon the dip into heated flour tortillas and you have an instant burrito.

Nutrition Info:
16 servings (1/2 cup dip, 1/2 cup chips), Calories 174 

Tasting Notes:
Parts of this I loved, and other parts could use improvement. I loved that it wasn't nearly as heavy as most bean dips, since the corn, rice, and cilantro kept things fresh and light. The bean puree is good, but needs extra flavor - more cumin and hot sauce, and a touch of salt. I also would use a good bit more salsa, for more spice and more tomato flavor in each bite. Great to dip into, especially when warm, but my preference was actually for the leftover-in-burrito version, as shown at right.


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