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Zesty Dip Offers Blend of Mexican Favorites

May 02, 1991|BARBARA HANSEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Think of your favorite Mexican foods--such as refried beans, guacamole, salsa, cheese and tortilla chips--then put them all together and you have Seven-Layer Dip, the perfect party appetizer for Cinco de Mayo.

This colorful stack of food is a popular dish at El Cholo restaurant in Los Angeles. El Cholo adds ground beef, sour cream and black olives to complete the seven layers and serves the tortilla chips on the side.

The Mexican restaurant has provided its recipe so you can duplicate the dish at home. For the best flavor and freshest appearance, make the salsa, guacamole and refried beans yourself and assemble them just before serving, draining the salsa well so it won't make the mixture watery. If time is short, you can substitute canned beans and ready-made salsa and guacamole from the supermarket.

Be sure to select tortilla chips that are sturdy enough to scoop through the many layers of this spectacular arrangement. And don't hesitate to double or triple the recipe; it's a crowd pleaser that disappears quickly.

EL CHOLO'S SEVEN-LAYER DIP

1 1/2 cups refried beans

3/4 pound ground beef, cooked

1 cup drained Pico de Gallo (see below)

1 cup guacamole

3/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded jack cheese

1/4 cup sliced black olives

Tortilla chips

Make layer of beans in large serving dish. Top with layer of ground beef. Arrange Pico de Gallo over beef, then top with guacamole and sour cream. Combine cheeses and sprinkle over mixture. Garnish with olives and accompany with tortilla chips. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

PICO DE GALLO

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno chile, chopped

1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Salt, pepper

Combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chile, oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 3 cups.

GUACAMOLE

3 medium avocados

1/2 medium tomato, finely diced

1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion

1 1/2 tablespoons minced jalapeno chile

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut avocados in halves, remove pits, scoop out pulp and place in bowl. Add tomato, onion, chile, lemon juice and salt. Mash with fork until avocado is almost smooth but a few lumps remain. Makes about 2 cups.

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