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"Black Bean Dip"

Style:   Mexican
Serves:   8


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion -- diced small
  • 2 tablespoons garlic -- minced
  • 1 pound dried black beans -- soak overnight
  • 2 bottles beer -- of your choice
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup tomato catsup
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh red or green chile of your choice -- minced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro -- chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice -- about 2 limes
  • salt and pepper -- to taste


In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to turn dark, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional 30 seconds. Add the drained beans, beer, vinegar, and water and bring the mixture to a boil. reduce the heat to low and simmer for abouit 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are mushy, adding more beer or water if the mixture becomes too dry.

Remove from the heat, add the catsup, cumin, chili powder, mustard, cinnamon, and chile pepper, and mix well. Allow to cool slightly (about 20 minutes), then puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until very smooth.

With the mixture still in the blender or food processor, add the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Blend briefly, just until well mixed. If the mixture is too thick, thin it with more beer. This mixture will keep, covered and refrigerated, about 4 days.

One day when I was making black bean soup in the East Coast Grill, it turned out much too thick. Since it was too late in the day to adjust it, I did what any cook would do -- changed it from a soup to a dip. As it often turns out in the world of food, out of failure came a new creation.