More Than Microwaving – Refried Beans

I have several great recipes saved up to share with you from my weekend “off”.  I was looking through pictures and couldn’t decide what to share.  Everything looked so delicious.  Then, I remembered a friend of mine suggesting that I do More Than Microwaving on Mondays.

Refried beans are a staple in New Mexican cuisine.  I used to open a can and plop the mushy contents into a pan and reheat.  Then, I got pregnant with my first child.  Suddenly, everything that came out of a can, tasted exactly like the can it came out of.  I could doctor them some and help temper that metallic flavor, but I finally gave up and just started making my own.  You can start with dry beans, but if you’ve got some already cooked up, it makes this process even more simple.  Just realize that your refried beans will have the flavor of your original beans, so bbq beans or baked beans aren’t recommended.  Chile beans are perfect (even if they’ve got a little meat in them). Start by putting the beans in a pan to warm them up.  If your beans aren’t nice and soft, use this time to cook them a little longer.  You want them to be really soft and not very soupy.  You can tell I cooked quite a bit of liquid off of these.

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When the beans are soft, add 1/2 teaspoon cumin and mash with a potato masher.  If you want them super smooth, I suppose you could use a food processor, but I like a little texture in my refried beans.  As you mash, the beans will start to absorb all the cooking liquid.  To keep them nice and moist, you need to add some fat.  Lard is traditional.  Bacon grease is fabulous, but butter will work just fine too.

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Serve these alongside your favorite Mexican meal. Top them with cheese if you want.  Or, put them on top of a tostada with a little cheese and salsa and they become a meal all their own.

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Recipe:

2 cups leftover pinto beans in liquid

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon fat*

Reheat beans and cook until beans are very soft and the liquid level and bean levels are about equal. You can add more water and cook the beans longer if you need to.  When beans are soft, add cumin and mash with a potato masher.  Mash until desired consistency and stir in fat. Serve warm.

*Lard, bacon drippings, butter or margarine all would work fine.

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