Warm Black Bean Dip
My mother, who is famous in our family for dancing like a Lord of the Dance star, overcooking broccoli in the steamer and correcting my grammar, used to make a dip like this for parties when we were young. And we loved it! I would always stand/sit close to the side of the table where this dip "set up shop" cause it is proper, salty, comfort food in a bite. But, be aware, It's a little bit like crack. You may not be able to stop without an intervention.
Warm Black Bean Dip
2 cans refried beans (I used black, but both are fine)
1 giant, heaping soup spoon of sour cream (can substitute thick greek yogurt or crème fraîche if you want)
1 handful roughly chopped cilantro (stems too, finely chopped)
1 cup (2 handfuls) grated cheese (monterey jack is best, but I used a dutch gouda (belegen 48+) cause I cannot find jack cheese here :( )
1/4 c. (about 50-60 ml) medium heat salsa verde ("green Mexican salsa" in Holland)
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground californian chili powder (If living in Holland maybe decide to substitute a fajita/taco seasoning mix for the chili powder and add more if necessary to taste. The chili powders in California are more varied, giving lots of options (from very mild to very hot and the one we have in Holland is a spicier version that resembles cayenne at times. So, BE CAREFUL WITH THAT!)
s&p to taste - go easy on the salt or omit it all together! Mexican food products tend to be very salty to begin with.
1/3 c (about 80-90 ml) water - to thin it out as needed.
A Note on Mexican Ingredients Outside of the Americas
The tricky thing about making a "Mexican-style" anything outside of the Americas, is that proper latin ingredients are harder to come by. It's slowly changing, in the way of, seeing them on the shelves, but quality is still an issue. In the last year, the brand "La Morena" has arrived on the shelves of some Dutch supermarkets which has been helpful for me, but mostly I have relied on my parents' extra suitcase full of hot sauces, dried spices, masa & tortillas when they come for their bi-annual visits. Once they even brought me Monterey Jack & Pepper Jack cheese on the long flight across the pond! I hope the future brings with it better products, but for now, back to the recipe...
In you food processor, place all the ingredients, except the beans, sour cream & water. Run the machine, bringing all the ingredients together as best as it can before adding the rest. Then add the beans and blend as long as it takes to make a soft puree with little lumps. Beans have a thin, clear jacket on them, and if they are not puréed well it leaves a chunky dip. So, purée it well! Scrape down the sides of the machine with a spatula as often as needed in order to get the ingredients to mix well. When you see the dip won't mix anymore without being thinned out, then add the sour cream. If that is not enough to get all the content moving around easily, then run the machine again, adding the water (a little at a time) until all the ingredients move freely and become VERY smooth. It can take up to 5 minutes depending on the power of your machine's motor. I like my bean dips to be smooth, really smooth! So I let it run!
You do not want this dip to be too dry or too wet. It's a fine line between the two and can entirely depend of the type of refried beans, thickness of your sour cream & salsas and even the kind of cheese you use. But basically, however the consistency is when you place it into an oven proof baking dish, it will get a little bit "looser" when heated up. If you let it heat up for a LOOONG time it can also dry out. I turned my oven on to 200 C (390 F) and set this dish in right away. I left it in for almost an hour, until the sides bubble and the top of the dish begins to look like the desert floor, a little cracked.
NOTES: If I had diced green chilis from a USA supermarket, I would have also added a small can of those, without the water, and after blending (mixing them in with the spatula instead). That does wonders for this type of dip!