13 March 2011

homemade refried beans

I know what you are thinking... you're thinking, "beans"? "she's giving us refried beans"? "How un-sexy!!" "What ever happened to bourbon caramels? or oven roasted dungeness crab or even beet & fennel soup?" Beets are definitely sexier than pinto beans, definitely.
Well, the reason I'm giving you beans today, is to change your mind about canned refried beans, and... to set up a recipe I'll have for you on Monday, a recipe that I've already eaten 3 times since the first time I made it, and, in fact, have already gone out and restocked the ingredients so that I'm at the ready next week.

I'll give you a heads up. Monday's recipe isn't going to be complicated. It isn't going to be something crazy, or insanely creative, or completely different from anything you've had before. However, it will be the following: one of the best dishes I've made in a long time; one of the easiest dishes I've made in a long time; and a dish that is the definition of highlighting an ingredient and letting the "good stuff" (i.e. homemade refried beans) shine through.

That said, and I'll probably say it again tomorrow, making these refried beans from "scratch" is key. You can use canned beans if you really have to, but I guarentee it just won't be the same. These beans have changed my mind about canned beans. These beans have made me decide that whenever possible, I'm making them this way, and I will never look back.
re-fried beans
for about 1 1/2 c re-fried beans
note: You can cook dry beans multiple ways (soaking them first or not). I prefer to not soak the beans because I find it to be easier to control the texture. Pre-soaking may quicken the cook time, however.

1 c dry pinto beans
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Place beans in a pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, so that the beans come to a soft boil. Partially cover pot with lid. Let beans cook, checking for doneness every 15-30 minutes, then stirring and adding more water, if necessary. Cook until beans are done to your preference. Drain beans and reserve until ready to fry. Beans may be refrigerated if not frying within a few hours.

When ready to fry beans, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add onions when oil is hot. Let cook until onions begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add in cumin and stir, then add beans. Mash beans with a fork, the back of a wooden spoon, or a potato masher and stir. Continue until most beans are completely mashed. Some bean pieces are okay. Stir in cayenne pepper and season liberally with salt and pepper. If desired, dilute beans down to a creamier texture by adding water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until they reach your desired consistency.

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