Mexican Layer Dip from Cook It in Cast IronServes 8 to 10
Why This Recipe Works
While cool and creamy seven-layer dip holds lots of appeal, we wanted to heat things up and make a sizzling-hot take on this classic that was layered with beans and spicy ground meat, plus a variety of fresh toppings. We also wanted to keep this ultimate appetizer simple, not fussy. For ease and simplicity, we used the cast-iron skillet for every step of the cooking process, from sautéing on the stovetop, to baking in the oven, to serving. We really wanted the meat layer to pack a punch, so instead of simply using browned ground beef, we created a bold mixture by using ground pork seasoned with tomato paste, chipotle chile powder, garlic, oregano, and cumin. On its own, the seasoned pork was slightly dry, so we moistened it with a little chicken broth and incorporated some shredded Monterey Jack cheese to produce a saucy, cheesy, meaty mixture. We then briefly removed the meat from the skillet so we could create the base for our dip by simmering pinto beans with chicken broth and then mashing them to a smooth, scoopable consistency. When the meat mixture was layered back in the pan, our dip was ready to go into the oven to bake until hot. Once it was out of the oven, we finished the dish with assorted fresh garnishes for a colorful final presentation. Our dip might not have seven layers, but it definitely has more than enough flavor for your next fiesta. Serve with tortilla chips and lime wedges.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons chipotle chile powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chicken broth
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (11/2 cups)
1 large red onion, chopped fine
2 (15–ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 10–inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat until shimmering. Add ground pork and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chile powder, garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Stir in 1/2 cup broth, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until sauce is thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and stir in Monterey Jack until well combined.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1 cup onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans and remaining 1 cup broth, bring to simmer, and cook until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Using potato masher, mash beans until smooth, then continue to cook, stirring constantly, until beans are thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.
4. Off heat, spread beans into even layer, then spread pork mixture over top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with tomato, avocado, remaining onion, and cilantro. Serve.