This is a rich, rewarding dip that wants to be the star of the appetizer table.
Sure, you can wait for game day to make a batch, but feel free to cut the recipe in half and make your own personal batch when you're craving some comfort food.
You could also take a major shortcut on this recipe and start with a can of refried beans, but I think it tastes infinitely better when you start with whole beans and flavor them yourself, so let's do that!
Start by roughly chopping half an onion and peeling 3 garlic cloves. Saute them in a dollop of oil until the onion starts to brown, 5-8 minutes. You can leave the garlic cloves whole because all of this will be blended eventually.
Meanwhile, drain and rinse a can of pinto beans.
Note: I used one of the larger 20 oz. can of beans. Compensate accordingly if you are using a standard 15 oz. can. Or say adios to compensating and the result will be a bit more cheesy!
Add the beans to the onion mixture, along with:
3 chipotles in adobo
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
freshly ground black pepper
Using 3 chipotles plus some of the adobo sauce gives this dip some kick! Feel free to use only 1-2 chipotles if you want a milder version.
Okay, bring the bean mixture up to a simmer and let it cook for a couple minutes. Then add it to a blender or food processor and combine well.
Hide the chips for now because this bean mixture is already delicious and it can be hard to stop eating it!
And while it might taste like it needs a bit more salt, I usually wait until all the cheese is added before giving a final taste for seasoning.
Add this bean puree to an oven-safe baking dish along with:
4 oz. cream cheese
approximately 1 cup of shredded Jack cheese
1/2 cup salsa
I'm using 1/2 cup of our homemade Tomato Jalapeno Salsa and it works perfectly here, but I think the tomatoes are more important than the rest of the salsa.
In fact, I've made versions of this dip before that simply used a roasted tomato in place of the salsa and gotten an equally good result. Either way, try to get some roasted tomato something in your dip because I find that it makes a huge difference in flavor.
By the way, 4 oz. of cream cheese is half of a standard-sized, rectangular cream cheese box.
Okay, this will need about 20-25 minutes in a 350F oven. Give it a good stir halfway through as all the cheese will be melted by then.
And be sure to take a final taste for seasoning as beans can be hypersensitive to salt level. I added another 1/4 teaspoon of salt to this batch (so that is approx. 3/4 teaspoon total).
If you want, you can save some of the shredded cheese for a final top layer. Sprinkle the cheese on top and give it another 30-60 seconds in the oven at the very end of the baking period.
You're left with a dish full of gooey, cheesy bean dip that can alter the course of any day.
It's best served right out of the oven so have your garnishes handy if you want to jazz it up. I used some diced tomatoes and freshly chopped cilantro for this batch but these are optional.
Not optional is plopping a bottomless bag of tortilla chips in front of your friends and family.
Give this bean dip a try sometime -- it's a great recipe to have in your repertoire for gatherings with friends and family. The recipe box is below if you want to print it out for kitchen use.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, but as with most bean dishes it won't keep for very long -- best to eat it soon!
Okay, let's take a look at one last option to add to your blossoming appetizer skills...Empanadas! Click the 'Mark Complete' button down below to check out the next recipe.
Chipotle and Cheese Bean Dip
- 1 can whole pinto beans (20 oz.)
- 1/2 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 chipotles in adobo
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water (or stock)
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- diced tomato (optional)
- cilantro (optional)
- Roughly chop 1/2 an onion and peel 3 garlic cloves. Saute the onion and whole garlic cloves in a dollop of oil over medium heat. Cook until the onion is just starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.
- Drain and rinse 1 can of pinto beans.
- Add beans to the onion mixture, along with 3 chipotles in adobo, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for a couple minutes.
- Add mixture to a blender or food processor and combine well.
- Add bean puree to an oven-safe baking dish, along with 4 oz. cream cheese, 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and 1/2 cup salsa.
- Bake in the oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Halfway through the baking period give the dip a good stir as all the cheese will be melted by then.
- After baking, take a final taste for seasoning as beans are hypersensitive to salt level. I added another 1/4 teaspoon of salt before serving.
- If you want a final layer of cheese, sprinkle cheese on top and bake for an additional 30-60 seconds.
- Optional garnishes includes diced tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.