I originally got this recipe from Cooking Light in the early 90's, when I was in the Navy living in DC. My friend Beth was having a party, and I said "I'll bring some appetizers!" Even back then, I was the appetizer queen. Or at least, they were my favorite thing to eat. Truth be told, until I was in my early 30's, my trips into the kitchen were disastrous about 1/2 the time. I burned or cut myself, or the food wasn't that great.
But this one month, there were many dip recipes, and I made 3 of them. This is the one I liked so much (they were all good though) that I wrote it on a card and kept it. And have made it from time to time. I'm not sure how it hasn't made it into the blog before.
A couple of days ago, I cooked up a pound of black beans. Lo and behold, about a pound of dried beans gets you enough beans for a triple batch of this dip. Now, if you are going to go to a party and take the dip, by all means, use a can of beans and make a small batch. However, if you like black beans, and bean burritos, and bean nachos...then make a triple batch and freeze some for later. These are destined for bean burritos tonight, and some will end up in the freezer too.
The original recipe can be found here. This is a pretty versatile recipe. I generally leave out the cheese unless I am serving the dip at a party. I've added peppers. I've used jarred salsa and homemade salsa. I've used canned or cooked from dried beans. If I don't have cilantro, I leave it out. I've used fresh or canned tomatoes. I like mine spicy but generally make it mild for the family.
Tex Mex Black Bean Dip (adapted from Cooking Light).
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed, sorted, soaked, cooked: 1.69 (you get about 7 cups)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, chopped finely: 0.58
1 medium onion, diced: 0.50
some diced bell pepper if you have it: 0.20
5 cloves garlic: 0.25
1.5 tsp cumin: 0.10
1.5 tsp chili powder: 0.10
1 Tbsp canola oil: 0.04
1 cup salsa: 0.50 (I used home canned)
salt to taste (because of the dried beans)
juice of 1 lime: 0.25
Total: $4.21 for 10 cups of dip. $0.42 per cup, $0.21 per half cup of pure deliciousness
Saute the onion (and pepper, if using, I had a teeny bit leftover) until soft. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Add cumin, chili powder, diced tomatoes and their juice (because, why not, what else are you going to do with the juice?), salsa, and cook down until the tomato juice has mostly evaporated.
Meanwhile, drain and mash the beans until chunky. Add the beans to the cooked down mixture. It will likely be a bit runny, so I cooked it on low for 1/2 hour or so. If you make a smaller batch with fresh tomatoes, it's done quite quickly. I used my dutch oven to make this. Add salt to taste and mix in lime (and cilantro, if using), after removing from heat.