I first experienced this dish some twenty-five years ago when my friend Gina Meadows brought it to a Mexican-themed Christmas Eve party in Arkansas. It’s a festive, almost geological concoction, fantastic then and now. Since then, I’ve seen this delicious room temperature dip at many potlucks (naturally enough—it’s the perfect informal party dish), especially in the South and Southwest. Though it’s a familiar player, there’s never any left. It’s often served in a glass pie pan, the better to accommodate its mountainousness.
7 LAYER TEX-MEX MOUNTAIN
Serves: 8-10 as an appetizer
3 to 4 soft-ripe Hass avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 TSP salt
2 bunches of scallions, derooted, whites and about 3 inches of green chopped
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, well rinsed, stemmed, and finely chopped
2 to 3 TBSP sliced pickled jalapeños, minced
2 to 2½ cups refried beans, either homemade or canned
8 oz (2 cups) shredded sharp cheese, preferably a combination of Monterey
Jack and Cheddar
3 large tomatoes, stemmed and finely chopped
1½ cups sour cream or thick, full-fat unsweetened plain yogurt
1 cup sliced California black olives, drained
A few large red-leaf lettuce leaves (optional)
Red, yellow, and/or blue tortilla chips for serving
- Place the avocados, lemon juice, and salt in a medium-size bowl and coarsely mash together with a fork. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the scallions, cilantro, and minced jalapeño. Set aside.
- Spread the refried beans on the bottom of a glass pie pan. Spread the avocado mixture on top, then the scallion mixture, then the cheese, and then the tomatoes. Cap the mountain with the sour cream or yogurt, and lastly, sprinkle with the circles of black olives. If you like, poke a few lettuce leaves around the mountain’s base to frame it decoratively.
- Place the tortilla chips in a bowl (or separate bowls, by color) alongside.
This recipe first appeared in Bean by Bean: A Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon, (Workman Publishing) and is available for purchase here.
Learn more about Crescent Dragonwagon.