Friday, May 3, 2013

Refried Beans


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I had eaten some really delicious refried beans at restaurants, but I have never been so thrilled about them as I was after tasting this dish!

I loved these beans.

I think the secret was going the extra mile and starting with dried beans instead of using canned.

The freshness was apparent right away, they were light and seasoned just as I wanted them to be. Preparing the beans for this took almost 4 hours – making them refried took about 15 minutes. The prep was well worth it, and I can’t wait to make them again.

This is just a basic recipe, a few spices, cheese and even a more powerful chili pepper will turn this into an amazing dip worthy of the finest occasions!

BEHIND THIS BITE
One of the first things I set out to cook when I started my food column was a black bean salsa where I started with dried beans. I used an old cast iron dutch oven to cook them. I tossed in chunks of ham in a wanna be Bobby Flay moment and let them simmer for quite a while.

I wasn’t paying attention and the water got really thick, so I turned off the heat. The beans were still tough and the liquid was a slimy mess. I chalked it up as a bust and ended up using canned black beans for a really tasty salsa.

I did this at our family camp ground.

I ended up leaving the pot on the porch and forgetting about it until the next weekend. By then it was a hideous stinking goop so I kept the lid on and set it off to the side of the camper.

The next person to discover it was my Mom a couple weeks later. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she lifted the lid. After being revolted by the contents, she then got really pissed - It was actually her pot. Every time I see dried black beans I think of Mom discovering my month old ham and bean experiment gone awry and I have to giggle because I'm crazy like that.

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Makes 8, 1/2 Cup Servings; 4 hours
1 lb Dried pinto beans
8 C water
1 Tbs Salt
1/2 C Onion, diced
1/4 C Jalapeno, seeded, diced
1 Tbs Garlic, minced

Prepare beans
Place beans in a large sauce pan or soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit at least one hour then drain. Return beans to pot with fresh water and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered until soft, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the liquid.

Make refried beans

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat saute onion and jalapeno in a little olive oil until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the beans and mash, add some of reserved water to make a paste-like mixture (amount may vary). Adjust seasoning and simmer to a desired thickness then serve.

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