Often, when I lived in Mexico, I’d have a pot of leftover beans in the fridge and few ideas on what to do with it. (Refry them? Done that, too many times.) When friends came over spur-of-the-moment one afternoon, I decided to make a warm bean dip with whatever I had in the pantry. It came together quickly and tasted like I spent more time on it than I actually did.
I’ve since made a homemade chile bean dip several times, and it works just as well with canned beans as it does with those cooked on the stovetop. I’ve also made the dip with different types of chiles — including chipotles, as called for in this version. For an even tangier version, I've swapped in pickled jalapeños, which add a pleasant, vinegary kick.
This dip is smokier and more complex, and could almost work as a side dish, thanks to its depth of flavor. Dried chipotles and canned chipotles en adobo can vary in terms of how hot they are, so I’d recommend soaking an extra dried chipotle or stirring in extra adobo if you want a very spicy dip. The baked tortilla chips are a staple in my house, and any extras will keep in a sealed plastic storage bag for two or three days.
Spicy Chipotle Bean Dip
For the bean dip:
Baked tortilla chips (recipe follows)
2 dried chipotle meco chiles, seeds and stems removed
2 teaspoons lard or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 medium onion
2 cups cooked black beans, with about 3/4 cup bean broth
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large chipotle en adobo from a can, with seeds
For the baked tortilla chips:
6 to 12 corn tortillas
Make the bean dip: Prepare the tortilla chips, if you haven't already.
Heat a comal or nonstick skillet to medium-low heat and when hot, toast the chipotle meco chiles lightly, until they release a spicy aroma, 5 to 10 seconds per side. Place in a bowl of warm water and let soften, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and reserve about 1/2 cup of the chile water. Set aside.
Heat the oil or lard in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark golden and blistered on all sides, about 3 minutes.
Add the beans and broth in one quick pour. Stir in the black pepper, cumin, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld. Let cool to room temperature.
Pour the cooled bean mixture, chipotle, soaked chiles, and the reserved chile water into a blender jar and blend until smooth. Taste for more salt or cumin if desired.
To serve, pour the bean dip into a bowl and serve with the chips.
Make the tortilla chips: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Stack 6 tortillas into a pile and use a large sharp knife to carefully cut the whole stack into 8 even triangles. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. (If you have two baking sheets, cut the remaining six tortillas and bake both sheets at the same time.)
Cook, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt if desired immediately after taking them out of the oven, then serve.
- The dish is very spicy, because that's how I like things. Feel free to use less chipotle or remove the seeds to reduce the heat.
- I usually don't add salt to the tortilla chips, but you can if you want more punch.
- You can substitute 1 1/2 cans of black beans and scant 3/4 cup water for leftover stovetop beans and their accompanying bean broth.
Reprinted with permission from Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City's Streets, Markets & Fondas by Lesley Tellez, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Kyle Books.