Friday, 15 January 2010

Refried Beans

I like the "intermittant blast" method of cooking beans because it means I really don't have to pay any attention to them for more than 2 minutes at a time. So even though they take a long time to cook, they are very easy. If you want to cook them faster, you can keep them at a steady simmer instead of turning off the heat once the water has been changed. You'll need to remember to stir them frequently though! Burnt beans are thoroughly nasty.

This is not the most authentic recipe for refried beans (which should really be translated as "well-fried" beans.) To make them authentic you should use at least twice as much lard, and really fry those beans, until they are quite thick and intense. I don't think my digestive system is up to that anymore though, so it's the lower fat version for me.

6 servings
days and days... but maybe 30 minutes actual work

Refried Beans
2 cups dry red kidney beans (450 grams, 1 pound)
1 medium onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup lard or bacon dripping, or vegetable oil if you must
2 teaspoons cumin seed, ground
1 teaspoon rubbed thyme
salt to taste

Put the beans in a large pot with plenty of water to cover - at least 3 times their depth. Bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them soak, covered, overnight. In the morning, drain the beans and cover them again with plenty of fresh water. Bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them soak, keeping them covered.

Continue turning them on and bringing them to a boil, then letting them soak for an hour or two or longer 3 or 4 more times until the beans are cooked. Give them a stir each time you bring them to a boil.

Once the beans are cooked they can be "refried". Drain the beans, but keep the cooking water.

Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat the lard, fat or oil in a very large skillet, and sauté the onion fairly gently, until it is quite soft and just beginning to colour. Add the garlic and the seasonings, and sauté for a minute or two longer. Put about a cupful of the bean cooking water into the pan, and follow it with about half of the drained beans. Mash them with a potato masher, mixing them in well with the onions and seasonings. Add the remaining beans and mash them as well, adding more bean cooking water if necessary to achieve a soft but not too liquid texture.

Serve when the beans are hot through.

Last year at this time I made Sweet Potato Waffles.


The Furlan Family said...

Hey there, if I might makes suggestion for augmenting your recipe? I add grated carrot, finely chopped bell peppers and finely chopped green tomatoes (frozen from my fall harvest) when I make refried beans. I think you'll find the veg make a more flavour-intensive experience.

Ferdzy said...


Maybe it's because of my childhood in Mexico, but I'm firmly of the opinion that refried beans contain beans and, er, refried. You can put all the veggies you like on top, but beans is beans.

Actually I'll admit that if I have some tomato juice, I may use that as my liquid, and I've been known to put in fresh chile peppers if I have any. (Bells give me indigestion, I'm afraid. You won't see many of them in my recipes.) Carrots strictly piled on top though, please. Preferably pickled with Jalapenos and onions.

That said, I refuse to be one of those "you can't put xxx in yyy or it isn't authentic!" people, even though that's pretty much what I just said, sigh. *kicks self*

You should definitely cook your beans exactly the way you enjoy eating them!