White Bean & Ancho Chile Spread
Every year my family gets together in St. Louis to celebrate a beloved trifecta: my grandparents' anniversary, groundhog's day and my grandmother's birthday. We're not all that partial to groundhogs or weather predictions, but groundhog's day is sandwiched between the other two occasions and thus always ends up as part of the celebration. This weekend was no exception and my grandparents marked 59 years of marriage. My grandparents have been a constant source of encouragement and inspiration for me. Early on in their marriage they took time to travel to every state in the continental U.S.A. on their Honda motorcycle. My grandmother handed-me-down the matching maroon jacket she wore through every state. It's a regular part of my wardrobe and one of those things I'd choose for a deserted island. To this day my grandparents share stories about those and other adventures, always encouraging our family to see as much of the world as we can and celebrate every day.
This food blog is an outgrowth of that encouragement, the place where I can capture the food and flavors that take me aback and remind of the friends and family that I share them with. So, in the spirit of savoring the special in every occasion, today's recipe is a fun variation of a white bean spread using a lively matchup of ingredients that work extremely well together. This spread packs a surprising depth of earthy yet subtly sweet and fruit-forward flavors.
White Bean Ancho Spread
Makes about 2 cups spread
2 cups cooked white beans
2 dried ancho chiles
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Presoak and boil the white beans if using dried beans until they are soft and cooked through.
Prepare a pot of boiling water. Rinse the dried chiles, cut their tops off and shake out the seeds. Toast them over medium-high heat in a small skillet for 3-4 minutes, turning them often to prevent burning. The skin will become velvety and soft. Set the chiles in a small bowl, pour the boiling water over them, place a plate on top of the bowl to trap in the heat and let them sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes the chiles should be soft, pliable and fully rehydrated. Place the chiles and 1 ounce of their liquid in a food processor along with the cooked white beans, lime juice, olive oil, salt and cumin. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and top with fresh cilantro. Cut and fry corn tortillas in hot oil to serve as chips.