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Refried Beans. A staple in our home and a personal favorite. We used to buy canned, thinking they were inexpensive. Then I started making them at home and the difference in overall price is astonishing, and worth the few minutes of work it takes to prepare them. The taste is amazing compared to store bought...they taste like something, not just paste.
The following is my recommendation for excellent refried beans.
1 lb dried pink beans (any bean will work, if you use pintos expect the refried beans to look grey)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup bacon grease (you can also use lard, we just prefer the taste of bacon grease, so we save all our bacon grease. We also use it to make masa for tamales instead of lard)
Here is how to do it:
Cook the pinto beans in a crock pot until the are very tender. We soak ours overnight first, then rinse, drain and place in the crockpot with water. Reserve the cooking liquid in order to make adjustments to your final product.
In a large skillet, heat your bacon grease on medium heat until rendered and hot. Then add your finely diced onion and your finely chopped garlic.
This is important. Add the salt now. I usually use a couple of teaspoons at least. This helps to bring out the juices in the onion and garlic without browning them. Don't let them brown. When they are translucent and extremely aromatic, add the cooked pintos with a slotted spoon. Stir constantly. Then add the reserved cooking liquid in order to bring it to a good consistency. You will know how much liquid to add after you start smashing them with a potato smasher.
Turn the heat down and continue to make adjustments. Smash as much or as little as you prefer. I like mine chunky. You also need to taste to see if the salt content is right on.