I first ran this recipe exactly two years ago, during a very very cold snap, when I was practically snowed-in, in the English countryside, with my mother. I was feeling homesick for America, and knew all my friends across the Atlantic were gearing up for an evening of chips, dips and football. Yup, it was – and is – Super Bowl Sunday time, the biggest TV event of the year, pretty much a national holiday over there.
According to Wiki, last year’s Super Bowl became the most watched American television program in history, drawing an average audience of 111 million viewers. So it’s no surprise that it’s the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving.
And dips are a big part of it. They’re a peculiarly American thing. Dips in the UK aren’t taken that seriously: most often they lurk in tiny plastic pots in the chill section of the supermarket. Upon further inspection they are usually radioactive in colour, full of E numbers (chemical additives), and leave a fatty film on the roof of your mouth.
There certainly isn’t a UK equivalent of the US tradition of time-honoured family recipes, and you won’t find dips in very many British cookbooks. Once I got past my twenties, the only dips I’ve ever seen at parties are houmous & taramasalata. But sour cream based?
Not so much.
When I moved to America I was amazed at the prevalence of dips, especially those quite substantial ones. (In the UK they are always quite liquid). It’s perfectly normal for a girlfriend to rock up to my front door for a TV party with a snazzy multi-layered dip, almost a meal in itself, made according to a honed family recipe.
So, in honour of Sundat’s Superbowl, & my wonderful friend in NY, the wonderful Jill, who knows as much about football as I do about fashion, I give you my own layer dip.
This has to be the simplest recipe. If you are familiar with nachos, then this will ring a few bells. It’s just layered beans, sour cream, grated cheese, guacamole, salsa and some olives.
So: dice the onion. Heat a dessertspoon of neutral oil (sunflower is gd) & add half the chopped onion.
and sweat (cook over a low heat) until the onions are translucent.
Open a tin of beans – I used black eyed, but it works with refried, haricot, black or canellini – drain, and add to the onions with a small glass of water, a large pinch of salt and a tsp of cumin. Heat to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.
Chop up the tomatoes into small dice, making sure you keep the juice. Strip off the coriander leaves and finely chop. Mix the tomatoes & all the coriander bar a spoonful, with the leftover chopped onion. Add salt to taste and a generous dash of Tabasco. (I use my hands to mix it all, but feel free to use a spoon.)
Skin the avocados.
Add two large teaspoons of salsa, & tablespoon of coriander, & a good squeeze of lime juice.
Get rid of some aggression by wielding that masher:
Add salt, Tabasco to your taste. (I like a lot.)
Take up your masher again when the beans look like this:
And half mash them. (You want a little texture.)
Scoop all the beans into an ovenproof dish:
Then add a layer of grated cheese, and then spoon over all the salsa:
Then a layer of sour cream (I used creme fraiche), and then all the guacamole, smoothed over the cream with the back of a spoon:
Then the olives, chopped (optional), and a thin layer of grated cheese. Pop under a pre-heated grill/broiler until the cheese is melted but not brown.
Ta da! Scoop into mouth with chips. (Try not to spill down front.)
I x can beans
1 x large white onion
1 x tsp ground cumin
small glass of water
2 x soft avocados
small bunch coriander
Grated cheese. In America I use Monterey or pepper Jack, but cheddar in the UK.
Handful of olives, chopped
Sour cream (I use creme fraiche)
Layer all ingredients plus sour cream
Pop under pre-heated grill/broiler
If taking this to a party, I suggest putting in the guacamole before the layer of cream, to stop the avocado going brown.