I’m not a cowboy, I don’t know any cowboys, and I don’t think anyone around me even owns cows. Since I live in a city, that’s probably a good thing. So I’m going to rebel and refuse to call this dip Cowboy Caviar. I’ve modified it to the point where it is Red River Caviar, eaten by Northerners who live along the Red River. It’s really very good!
I’ve made all kinds of variations on this dip and we’ve settled on the fact that none of us like it extra spicy. We like a little kick, a little cilantro flavor, and a lot of beans and tomatoes. We like it served with the smaller version of tortilla chips and in a chunky, not so wet and drippy style that’s going to leave marks on your clothes when you nibble.
It’s a simple dip to blog, but sort of boring in the photos. Basically I dumped each opened can into a strainer, rinsed the contents, then dumped it into a large bowl. There was some chopping involved, some sprinkling of seasonings, and then it did time in the fridge, melding its flavors until we were ready to snack on a recent holiday. Our caviar goes great with both beer and peach mango sangria punch (I’ll vouch for the punch part!). Even the kids liked it!
My P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) and I debated in the grocery whether to use pinto beans or black-eyed peas in the caviar. I’ve used both and can’t say that I noticed any difference. My P.S. voted on pinto beans, registering surprise at the cost of black-eyed peas being so much more than other beans. Puzzling over that, we decided we’d probably used pinto beans in the past. We couldn’t remember the last time we bought black-eyed peas.
From there it was a simple matter of what corn to buy. I wanted to roast our own corn on the cob and cut it off to use in the caviar, but it was late the night before the gathering and we’d have had to grill the corn in the dark. That meant mosquitos, not the lack of lighting, would be a factor. Again my P.S. voted no. I agreed.
The avocados in the produce section basket were all hard and nowhere near ripe, so again due to last-minute prep we had to improvise. We bought the avocados from the organic section at a higher cost, since they were nicely ripe. I decided I would dice them at the last-minute the next day and add them to the caviar.
Returning home, I opened all of the cans and began rinsing the contents and putting them all into a large bowl. Pinto beans, black beans and 2 cans of corn later they were done.
I rinsed and diced the Roma tomatoes and added them to the bowl. I had green onions diced in the fridge; into the bowl went about 8 onions worth of finely diced green onions.
My sweet red bell pepper addiction kicked in and I diced two smaller peppers up, which was probably about a half cup total. You could do more or less of the peppers, based on personal preference.
I am not a huge cilantro fan, so I used maybe about 2 tablespoons worth of finely chopped cilantro. It is so strong it came through very well anyway. Most recipes call for 1/4 cup so that’s how I’ve listed the ingredient. Again, modify based on your own preference.
With all the beans and veggies in the bowl, I measured out my vinaigrette ingredients, whisked it well and poured it over the bowl’s contents. I mixed well, put it into container and stored it covered in the fridge overnight.
The next day, shortly before the picnic, I diced the avocados up, tossed them with lime juice, and added them to about 3/4 of the caviar mixture. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t all get eaten and I didn’t want the avocado to shorten the fridge life of the caviar. I wanted to be able to enjoy every drop of caviar goodness in the leftovers!
Our caviar was so refreshing! We had all been so busy that nobody had eaten lunch and we hadn’t planned to grill until about 5 pm. About 3 pm the caviar and chips were a perfect appetizer to go along with our drinks. And the leftovers were perfect the next day and the day after… I must make more. I’m missing it already!
Red River Caviar
1 can pinto beans (or black-eyed peas)
1 can black beans
2 cans corn
6 Roma tomatoes
8 green onions
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
1/4 cup lime juice (fresh or bottled)
Drain and rinse beans and corn. Place in a large bowl.
Dice tomatoes, red pepper, green onions and cilantro. Add to the bowl.
Mix vinaigrette and pour over bean mixture. Stir well and refrigerate.
Shortly before serving, dice avocados and toss with lime juice. Stir into caviar and serve.