Monday, March 11, 2013

Refried Beans Anyone?

All right.  After deliberating on whether or not to let my secret out, I've decided to go ahead and let you know how to make my favorite refried beans.  These are so simple and yummy.  If you want to keep them fat free, you don't even have to use oil - just cook them and mash them up if you like.  However, we use a tad of bacon fat to give them a nice smoky flavor.  Yes, I said BACON.  Oh no!

This recipe has been tweaked a few times now, and I think I finally have it where I want it.

Let's go!

Gather together:

3 1/2 cups dried pinto beans (no need to soak first, but definitely rinse 'em well)  I know some of you think I'm nuts, but trust me - you don't have to soak them.
1 large onion, diced
2 large roasted green chiles, diced (or one large can diced green chiles, 7 oz)
5 cloves garlic, peel and leave whole (dice if you prefer, but not needed)
3 tsp Real Salt (or good fine sea salt)
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp good quality chili powder (I make my own, similar to this recipe by Alton Brown, but tweaked as most of my recipes are - seeing a trend yet?)
1/2 tsp baking soda
9 cups filtered water

Throw it all in the crockpot and cook on high heat for 6-8 hours until the beans are soft.

Divide your beans at this point, water and all, into 4 equal 25(ish) oz containers or freezer bags and freeze them until you are ready to mash 'em up.  I freeze 3 of the 4 containers and make some fresh ones out of the 4th most of the time.

When you are ready for some yummy beans:

Throw 1-2 TB oil of choice in a pot over medium heat and melt it baby!  We use BACON FAT (you don't need much, but feel free to leave it out if you want to go fat free, these beans are yummy as is).
Add beans and 2 tsp ground cumin (this is in addition to the cumin you already added, cumin is goooood).
If you want to add more heat, mince a serrano pepper and cook it a bit in the oil before you add the beans.
You don't even have to defrost the beans first, though it's easier if you do.

Cook them up for 15-20 minutes and then mash 'em up.  A hand held stick blender works very well here.  If you find the beans are too runny at this point, just cook them a little longer until they look right to you.

Obviously change it up a bit if you are making a bigger batch, remember this is for 1/4 of the cooked beans.  I've been asked if the whole pot could be fried up and then frozen, and I don't see why not.  Try it and let me know how it works for you.

That's it, that's all!

P.S.  Try to make your own chili powder.  I promise it is worth it - sooo much better than store bought.  I use mine in place of taco seasoning, chili seasoning and in my homemade salsa (I'll share that one in a future post).  My family always requests me to make it for them, so I have to make quadruple batches every time.  Trust me.