Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A Real Crowd Pleaser

Back when I was living in Boston, my friend Cara started dating this guy, Coley, whom she met at a wonderful below-street-level bar called "The Last Drop" while we were all out one night for post-work drinks. (Now they’re married and have a beautiful daughter, but I digress.) Coley wasn’t, like, a professional chef or anything, but he’d built a repertoire of a few recipes for football Sundays that impressively included a marinated brisket and what he called “Crowd Pleaser Dip” which was basically a Mexican 7-Layer Dip straight out of the 1980s. He was right - I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like this stuff.
Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, here’s my own rendition of this classic dip. May your crowds be pleased and your Super Bowl squares be winners. 

Kate’s “Crowd Pleaser” Mexican 7-Layer Dip

1 can of Amy’s Refried Black Beans (accept no substitutions)
2 cups (ish) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups (ish) shredded pepper jack cheese (or regular Monterey jack if your guests can’t take the heat)
1 small (2.5 oz.) can sliced black olives – the cheap ones – drained and patted dry
2 cups (16 oz.) fresh salsa (heat level is your call), drained to remove most of the liquid
 extra chopped cilantro and cheese for garnish

For serving: A bag of sturdy tortilla chips (I like Mi Casa, if you can find them. Honestly, though, Tostitos are totally fine if you don't have a good local brand.)

Locate a glass pan. I love when it’s glass because you can see the layers. This dip can be made in a pie plate, a glass baking pan, whatever. It doesn’t have to be glass. You can honestly just make it on top of a plate. I used a 11x7 glass baking dish.

Spread the refried beans in the pan with a table knife or metal spatula.

Sprinkle the cheddar on top, kind of evenly.

Spread the sour cream on top of the cheddar. This can be kind of tricky as you don’t want to disturb the cheese or end up with cheese on top of your sour cream. We’re trying to layer here. Channel your best circa-2006 Olsen twin and LAYER.

Spread the guacamole over the sour cream.

Homemade guac MAKES this dip what it is. Don't buy that citric-acid laden prepackaged stuff. Please. For me. Make your own.

Sprinkle the pepper jack over the guac.

Sprinkle the olives over the pepper jack.

Dollop the drained salsa over the olives and spread to cover the pan.

(Forgot to take a picture!)

Sprinkle additional cheese and cilantro on top.

Serve with chips. 

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