Monday, November 16, 2009

Homemade Refried Beans

I made a batch of refried beans last week; thanks to Susie for teaching me the "art!" I was so impressed when she first talked about making them, but make no mistake: there's absolutely no skill involved! If you can stir, you can make refried beans!

Once again, I was partway through the process before it occurred to me to snap photos.
First, you need to make the beans of your choice. I used pinto beans.

*You could just open a can of pinto beans and move on to the frying part, if you're in a pinch. But I prefer to make my own. The feel-good-about-what's-in-your-food thing. :)

So first you soak your dry beans according to the package instructions. I prefer to soak mine overnight. I rinse and sort them and then empty the whole 1-pound-bag in the crock pot, filling it to the top with water. In the morning I just turn the crockpot on low and throw in a clove or 2 of crushed garlic. Beans don't have much flavor on their own, so the garlic helps.

When the beans are nice and soft, remove the garlic. Now you can fry them! I use a cast-iron skillet, and I fry them in bacon grease, if I have it. Or shortening. Even though neither of these is healthy, I still think the beans wind up being better for you than the canned variety.
When your bacon grease or shortening--whatever frying agent floats your boat--has melted, place 1/3 to 1/2 of your beans in the pan. Notice I've included the liquid from the crockpot! It's got all that garlic-y goodness--don't throw it out!

The heat should be hot enough that your beans & liquid bubble, but not hot enough to scorch them. Mmm! Keep frying!

You can use your spoon to smoosh the beans. We like ours fairly well-smooshed, but you can leave them un-smooshed if you like. ("Smooshed" is the official term here.)

At this point I add a little garlic salt and a bit of cayenne pepper. Again, the flavor factor. Looks great! Smells divine, too.

If you don't plan to use them right away, transfer the beans into ziploc bags. This is my best estimate at the quantity you'd find in a can of refried beans. My 1-pound bag made 3 "cans." They freeze wonderfully!

Then, when you're ready to use them, just heat up your skillet and fry them again! And if you have leftovers, fry them again! They're delicious!