April 15, 2009 12:00 PM
Beans: Refried Beans
You will find that refried beans are one of the most common sides for traditional Mexican dishes. From breakfast, to dinner, they are always a welcome companion. You can make them with different kinds of beans, like Black, Pinto, or Peruvian. The choice in Mexico varies among regions but also among cooks. I tend to use the Pintos more, because they have a creamier consistency and softer flavor. The Black, delicious as well, have a stronger flavor and texture. The Peruvian have a peculiar flavor, that is hard to define, but it is stronger than the Pintos and lighter than the Black.
You can make the Refried beans in a traditional way, which is by mashing the Frijoles de Olla in the pan with onion that has been sauteed in lard, or you can substitute for oil. You can also make quicker and smoother Refried beans, by skipping the mashing part, and placing the Frijoles de Olla in the blender, to make a smooth Bean puree that you can then thicken and season.
Aside from a side, Refried beans are used to make many things like Tortas, Molletes, Tacos, Quesadillas and Dips.
Refried beans are absolutely delicious on their own, with corn tortillas and pickled jalapenos. They also can be turned into many dishes such as charros beans.
Makes about 4 cups
You can choose if you want your beans the traditional way, which takes a little bit more effort as you have to mash them as they season and thicken. Or you can opt for an easier and faster way, which doesn't have that rough textured feel, but it is much smoother.
For traditional refried beans:
5 cups Beans from the Pot or Frijoles de Olla along with 2 cups of their cooking liquid (or 5 cups precooked beans with 2 cups their liquid and water to make 2 cups)
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
3 tablespoons safflower oil
Kosher or sea salt to taste
In a large saute pan over medium heat, pour the oil and heat until hot but not smoking, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions and let them saute for about 3 to 4 minutes, until they have softened, become translucent and have started to slightly brown along the edges.
Add a cupful of beans at a time, over the sauteed onion, and mash with a masher, like a potato masher, until you have added all of the beans.
Let them season and thicken for about 8 to 10 minutes, and continue mashing and stirring, until they have achieved a thick puree consistency and are somewhat pasty looking.
For smooth and easy refried beans:
6 cups basic bean puree
3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
In a large saute pan over medium high heat, pour the oil and heat until hot but not smoking, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions and let them saute for about 3 to 4 minutes, until they have softened, become translucent and have started to slightly brown along the edges.
Add the bean puree over the sauteed onion, and let them season and thicken for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the beans are bubbling way too much, lower the heat a little to medium-low heat. Let them continue thickening, until they have achieved a thick puree consistency and are somewhat pasty looking. It depends on your liking, some people like them thicker and some people like them with a softer consistency. While it depends on how you like them, they are mostly cooked until they can hold a shape when scooped with a spoon.