Refried Beans

by Oct 23, 2010

Refried beans are one of those simple things that are unbelievably delicious.  And when you make them yourself, you know exactly what kind, and exactly how much oil goes into them.  Soak the hard beans overnight and then set them to simmer as you do something else around home.  Your dinner will be fantastic!
Refried Beans
serves 4
1/2 pound dry pinto beans (approximately 1 1/2 cups); you need to soak these.  You can choose from 2 methods,  one overnight and one that takes about an hour before you can start the cooking.
Bean cooking ingredients:
soaked pinto beans
1/4 yellow onion, kept in a chunk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Bean “refried” ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 corn tortilla, preferably sprouted (I like Food for Life brand)
the cooked refried beans and their liquid
1.  Prepare the beans for soaking.  Put the beans in a large bowl and rinse the beans under running water, filling the bowl and pouring off the water a few times.  Fill “bean bowl” with water once more, this will be your soaking water.  Water should cover the beans by at least 3 or 4 inches.  Remove any floaters.

Choose one of the following:
Overnight Soak
Set the bean bowl in the fridge overnight.  The next day, dump the beans into a colander and discard the soaking liquid.  Beans are ready to cook.
Quick Soak
Put the beans into a medium stockpot and fill the pot with water to cover the beans by 3 – 4 inches.  Over medium high heat, boil the beans for 1 minute then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let beans sit for 1 hour.
2.  Drain the soaking liquid from the beans and discard.  Put soaked beans in a medium stockpot, add water to cover by 2 – 3 inches and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt.  Bring to boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook beans for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until very tender.
3.  When beans are fully cooked, discard the onion, and heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan.  Add the corn tortilla and fry until golden brown, turning once to get both sides.  Remove and discard the tortilla, you’re using it to flavor the oil.   Add the beans and their cooking liquid all at once to the hot oil, be careful, it will boil vigorously.  Now you are starting to “refry” the beans.  Find a tool to help you squish them — a potato masher, a laddle, a big wooden spoon, or even the bottom of a heat proof glass.  Mash away, adding additional water, if necessary, or boiling longer to evaporate excess liquid.
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips
  • Serve these beans with tortillas, rice and the usual taco/burrito fixins – grated cheese, lettuce, sour cream, jalapenos, salsa, etc. 
  • You might be tempted (as I was) to use this method for black refried beans, but they aren’t as flavorful as pintos so it doesn’t work out quite that well.  To make black refries you need to add some additional flavorings to the bean cooking.  Stick with the pinto beans for now.
  • Double this recipe by using a full pound of beans and half an onion during cooking.

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