Whether you're hosting a Super Bowl party or just having friends over for appetizers and drinks on the patio, a great seven layer dip is a hearty almost-meal in itself. A basic mixture of layers of ground beef, refried beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes sets the tone, but add spices and other ingredients to make this legendary dip something truly special. Serve with your choice of corn chips, tortillas, or crackers and add some Mexican beer or Margaritas for Tex-Mex party atmosphere. This recipe will serve six as a hearty snack or make it part of an array of tapas for buffet. It will take you about an hour to prepare.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the skillet, fry the ground beef until browned. Add the chopped onion, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, corn and the taco seasoning mix. Cook as directed on the package. If you are using black beans, you can drain them and use them as is or fry them and mash them in some olive oil.
Cook the Mexican rice as directed on the package. For a spicier dish, add the canned Jalapeno peppers to the rice. You can remove as many seeds as possible to decrease the spiciness. Spread the refried beans or black beans in the bottom of the serving dish. When the meat mixture is done, spread it on top of the bean layer. Crumble Fritos on top to cover. Spread the Mexican rice on top of the Fritos. Cover this layer with one package of the Mexican cheese blend.
Place the large casserole in the hot oven for about 20 minutes to heat thoroughly. Remove from oven when all the layers are hot and the cheese is melted.
Spread the sour cream over the top of the hot layers, followed by the guacamole. Put the shredded lettuce on top and cover with chopped tomatoes and olives. Spoon on a layer of medium salsa and add the remaining layer of cheese. Serve immediately while the bottom layers are still warm.
If you don't have taco seasoning mix on hand, cook the meat and beans with 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped, 1/2 tbsp. chili seasoning, 1/2 tsp. oregano, and 1/2 tsp. cumin seed. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
You can make your own Mexican rice by cooking 1 cup rice in 1 cup chicken stock, 1 can chopped tomatoes, undrained, chopped garlic, and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Cook over low heat, covered, for twenty minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy and cooked through. Add water as needed if the stock and tomato juice cook away. To make your own guacamole, smash two ripe, peeled avocadoes with 1 finely chopped tomato, some fresh cilantro, and the juice of one lime. Add a bit of finely chopped red onion if desired.
Feel free to serve the first several layers, straight from the oven, without adding the cold layers. Instead, serve the other ingredients in separate bowls, and give your guests large warmed flour tortillas. Invite them to roll their own burritos for a fun switch on a traditional seven layer dip. This is also a good option if you have guests who are lactose intolerant or don't care for guacamole.
For an interesting variation, prepare traditional mole sauce and use it over the rice layer before heating. To make this, buy brown mole sauce in the Mexican section of your grocery store and a package of Mexican cocoa. The cocoa comes in an hexagonal shaped box in hard layers. Put the mole sauce in a large sauce pan. It will be hard to get out of the jar so be careful. Add one round bar of cocoa and a healthy serving spoonful of peanut butter. Add water and cook for about twenty minutes, mashing the sauce and the cocoa until you have a thick, rich sauce. Add water as needed as the sauce become thick.