This is an oldie but goodie thanks to my dear friend Sumiko over at Near to Nothing!
One of my favorite ingredients is dry beans. They are economical, easy, nutritious, and versatile (e.g. hummus, taco salad, chili, and burritos). I’ve been cooking and serving dried beans for quite a few years, but a little over a year ago, I started using them to make refried beans. I make a huge pot full of them and freeze them in small portions for future use.
Traditional refried beans are made with lard (or bacon drippings). While not the healthiest way to eat beans, definitely one of the tastiest in my opinion. If you’re willing to give up authenticity, you can make homemade fat-free refried beans.
Not only do I work to get the most food and nutrition for my money, I also like to get the most for my money when it comes to kitchen gadgets. This means using them for more than their marketed use. If a tool or utensil only has one specific use, you probably won’t find it in my kitchen. No salad spinner here! Consequently, my potato masher is used for more than just mashing potatoes: sweet potato casserole, guacamole, baby food, cookie crumbs, and refried beans.
Traditional Refried Beans
- 1 lb. dry pinto beans (about 2½ c.), rinsed and drained
- 6 c. water
- ¼ c. lard or bacon drippings (do not substitute vegetable shortening)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ Tbsp. cumin
- Sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)
Put beans and water in crock pot. Cook on high until beans are very tender, about 5-6 hours, adding water as needed to keep beans covered. In a large skillet, melt lard over medium heat. Add beans, cooking liquid, salt, garlic, cumin, and cayenne. Mash beans with back of spoon or potato masher. Cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes, stirring often, until desired consistency. Yield: about 6 cups (about 54 oz.). Total cost: less than $2!!!
Fat-free Refried Beans
- 2 lb. dry pinto beans (about 5 c.), rinsed and drained
- ½-¾ large onion, roughly chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 Tbsp. cumin
- ½ Tbsp. dried oregano
- ½ Tbsp. paprika
- Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- 12 c. water
- 4 tsp. salt, more or less depending on preference
In large crock pot, place all ingredients except salt. Cook on high 5-6 hours, until beans are very tender, adding water as needed to keep beans covered. Ladle out 3-4 c. cooking liquid, reserve.
Stir in salt. Mash beans with back of spoon or potato masher. Add reserved liquid as needed for proper consistency. Adjust salt if needed.
Yield: about 12 cups. (about 110 oz.). Total cost: about $3.50!!!
Refried beans can be topped with cheese and served as a side dish or used to fill burritos and chimichangas. They are also great for bean dip or seven layer dip. Yum!