A few months back I read this article which got me thinking about what my "signature" dish might be. Something that, time and time again is requested for potlucks or parties, that may originally be from another source but has been made my own over time. I was discussing it with a friend and realized what it was. It's not a special casserole, or roast chicken, or even a great dessert. It's...taco dip.
Yes. TACO. DIP. That fattening but disturbingly addictive layered dip that was probably at the last barbeque you attended. You can likely name at least five people that make on a semi-regular basis. It's not particularly original, and definitely isn't classy. But I've been asked to make it so many times I can't even count, and have been told more than once that it's better than the other taco dips. So as much as I'm almost ashamed to admit, this is my signature dish. At least during barbeque season anyway.
This might sound really obvious, but the "secret" to my taco dip is the guacamole. For some reason most taco dip recipes out there don't include guac, but it really makes all the difference. I make a homemade, chunky guac for this layer and I swear that the amount of compliments I get on my taco dip has a direct relationship to the amount of guac in it. Just trust me on this.
1 8oz block of light cream cheese, softened (I don't normally use light or low-fat products, but since the dip itself is so heavy and people have a tendency to eat a LOT of it I figure it's probably for the best)
1 250ml container of light sour cream (see above)
1 packet taco seasoning (I use the reduced salt kind)
1 small jar of mild or medium salsa
1-2 tomatoes, diced
Guacamole (see recipe below)
Cheese (not really sure how much...1 or two cups. Enough to cover your casserole dish)
Casserole dish...a 3 quart container in any shape should do it. Preferably glass so that you can see the layers. Or you can halve the recipe and use a smaller container. This makes a lot of taco dip.
1. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and kind of "cut" it with a fork. Start mixing small amounts of sour cream, using the fork to blend the two. This makes it easier to blend the two smoothly vs. just having sour cream with clumps of cream cheese floating around. Keep doing this until you've added all the sour cream and then mix in the taco seasoning until smooth and spread over the bottom of your dish.
2. Layer salsa. If you're using a glass dish and want the layers to show, start at the edges and work your way in with each layer.
3. Layer diced tomatoes, then guac as above.
4. Sprinkle the entire thing with cheese, enough to cover.
5. Cover with saran wrap (or a lid) and refrigerate until ready to eat. Either way, its best after it's been in the fridge for about an hour or so after the bottom layer has had a chance to firm up again.
1 shallot, finely diced (I only use about half of it)
Salt and pepper
1. Pit and scoop out the insides of avocados into a small bowl. Add shallots and the juice of 1/2 or whole lemon (depends on how lemony you like it) and season with salt and pepper
2. Run a knife through the bowl a few times until you get the chunkiness that you like. I make my guac pretty chunky, as you probably know so you can use a fork or something if you like it smoother