American Football season is here and I love putting out a spread of finger foods for everyone to enjoy while watching the games. Chips and various dips are always popular and today’s recipe if one of my most requested. A smoky, spicy dip made with black beans and chipotle peppers and served with tortilla or pita chips brings smiles every time I set it on the table.
You have options when making this, from quick and easy to a 2-day affair. I usually make the quick version, but if you have the time and inclination, making all the ingredients from scratch produces a wonderfully flavorful and healthy dish. Cooking the beans usually requires an overnight soaking in water, so make sure you plan ahead. I even found a recipe to make your own Chipotles en Adobo from scratch!
Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. They give a pleasant smoky flavor to foods and can go from relatively mild to quite spicy. Start by adding just a little and then add more if you like the flavor and heat. Don’t forget, heat develops with time, so if you are making this a day or two in advance, add a little when you make it and then adjust the seasonings right before you serve it. I like the bright flavor of fresh lime juice, but if all you have are lemons, they are delicious too.
Chipotle peppers are available in three main forms: dried, ground powder, or “en adobo” sauce. If you are using the dried form you will need to reconstitute them in boiling water. Break the dried chiles into pieces, discard the seeds, place in a bowl and let them steep until softened. Cut into small pieces before pureeing. Adobo is a piquant sauce made of vinegar and other spices often used in conjunction with chipotle peppers. If you are using this preparation, the sauce is seasoned by the peppers and is quite hot on its own. Add it cautiously unless you are addicted to spicy foods. You can usually find these ingredients in the Mexican or Foreign food aisle of your grocery store or of course you can order them online.
I’ve served this versatile recipe as a side dish, used it to make nachos, and as a filling for enchiladas that are great for a crowd. You can even take the basic recipe, thin with some chicken or vegetable stock and turn this into a delicious black bean soup. Top with some sour cream or crème fraiche and some chopped tomatoes for freshness and color.
I hope you enjoy this dip while watching your favorite teams win!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
To get the most juice from citrus fruits, roll them on the counter to break the tissues under the rind before halving and juicing. Heating them for 5 seconds in the microwave also helps.
Kitchen Skill: Pureeing
Why: To blend ingredients until completely smooth
How: There is no easy way to do this without either a food processor or a blender. The key is to have enough liquid to break down the solid foods. Never use your fingers or hands to move ingredients around inside either appliance – always use a spoon or spatula. You can seriously injure yourself on the sharp blades. For this recipe the food processor works best. It will take some time to get the puree totally smooth, but if you are patient, it will come out silky!
- 2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed, or you can make your own from scratch
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 to 5 scallions, tough ends discarded, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (tender stems are OK) plus extra for garnishing
- 1 to 2 tsp minced Chipotle en Adobo (typically available in the Mexican section of your market), or homemade
- Juice of 1 to 2 limes, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Minced or chopped red bell pepper
- Place the beans, stock, scallions, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, and chipotle in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade or in a blender. Puree until smooth. Taste and add lime juice, salt and pepper, and additional chipotle as desired.
- This may be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dip to protect the surface from drying out. Bring to room temperature or reheat slightly in a microwave to take the chill off the dip. Sprinkle the top with cheese and bell pepper pieces. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
- If you would rather serve this hot, place dip in an ovenproof dish, top with shredded cheese. Place in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dip is warmed. Sprinkle minced bell pepper over the top for color. Garnish with a sprig of fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole if desired.
- Yield: About 2 cups
- 7 to 10 medium-sized dried chipotle chiles, stemmed, slit lengthwise, seeds discarded
- 1/2 medium onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices
- 5 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups water
- Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and cook over very low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the chilies are very soft and the liquid has been reduced to 1 cup.
- For chipotle puree, place the cooked chipotles and sauce in a blender and puree. Put through a fine sieve to remove seeds.
- This recipe will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Yield: about 1 cup