Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Really Savory Bean Dip

I did a lot of cooking, baking and other kinds of kitchen work over the holidays despite being at my sister's house. She had just started a new job recently and had no real time off, yet she had the entire family descending upon her over the Holidays, so I did what I could to remedy things for her.  While she did have the house all decorated, she had not had time to bake any cookies or in any way prep for the rest of the family.

Southwestern Style Bean Dip

I took one batch of cookie dough with me when we went out to Denver, and baked the cookies at her house the next day. I made dinners most days and in between made various kinds of cookies and fudge, aside from the other pastries I had brought along. We certainly lacked for nothing over the holidays, in any way shape or form. 

Still, sometimes inspiration strikes, so on New Year's Eve I came up with a dip recipe and made free with my sister's kitchen and staples. I was thinking about hummus. Yet my sister has some food taboos that can be tricky to work around. One of these is sesame, in any form. I love hummus. I love hummus just as it is normally made - with sesame tahini. First I checked to see if she had a can of chickpeas. No. Okay, since I couldn't make a traditional hummus, the next best thing was white beans. 

Southwestern Style Bean Dip
I have made a variation on hummus in the past, using white beans and sesame tahini. This time, no tahini would be used anyway, so I started moving away from even trying to call this vague idea of a concept "hummus" anymore. So ultimately I went for a dip. A dip can be almost anything. I kept on with the white bean idea, since I love beans. Then with the idea of hummus still in my mind I kept the idea of using lime juice and olive oil to thin the pureed beans and give them some zip. My sister grows herbs in the summer, as do I. However, it is a little harder to keep my herbs going so much into winter. In Denver, thyme, at least, keeps fairly well even if it's been covered in snow. Which it had been! I went and clipped some thyme, shook off the snow, and proceeded to use it in the bean dip. 

Next I sat to ponder what other flavors would go into this dip. What would enhance the flavor profile I had so far? My sister had a small can of diced green chilies in the pantry, so I tossed them in. She had some scallions chopped in the fridge, and I tossed those in as well. Next? Spices!

Since I had a vaguely Southwestern flavor profile going, I opted for a little cumin and some ancho chili powder for spice. All this was pureed in a food processor, and if I do say so, it was absolutely perfect. I cannot think of a single thing that could have made it taste any better. Except possibly more chili - either in the form of fresh chilies or more powdered chili. But, since not everyone likes things too spicy, I left good enough alone. I was pleased, and most of the dip disappeared in the first half hour. I would term that a success.

Southwestern Style Bean Dip

makes about 3 cups
Southwestern Style Bean Dip

1 can (15-ounces) white beans
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
2 tablespoons scallions, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil

chopped scallions and fresh cracked black pepper for garnish
drizzled olive oil for garnish

Drain the beans in a colander and then run water over them for at least 2 or 3 minutes, until all foaming subsides. Pour the drained beans into the bowl of a food processor. Add in the next 9 ingredients and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl to serve and garnish with the scallions, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve the dip with vegetable crudites, crackers of tortilla chips.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.