Mexican Refried Beans Recipe

When making any refried beans recipe, it's important to know what refried beans really are. These beans are actually fried only once, when the cooked beans are mashed into a little bit of lard or bacon fat. Even though you can buy a can of refried beans at the grocery store, making them yourself means you have control over the spices and, perhaps most important, the amount of fat that winds up in the dish.

Frijoles Refritos (Well Fried Beans)
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 bag pinto beans
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon crushed hot pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)
4 strips bacon, including grease
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or lard

First, sort the beans. Make sure all pebbles and debris are removed from the beans before you eat them. A good way to do this is to dump two handfuls at a time onto a plate. As each handful is cleared of debris, dump it into a colander to be rinsed. After the beans have all been properly sorted and rinsed, put the beans into a large kettle and add about three times as much water as beans to the kettle. Leave the beans in the water overnight.

In the morning, drain the beans, and place them into a crock pot. Add water. The beans should be submerged with about one inch of water over the top. (If needed, add more water as the beans cook.) Cook the beans on low for about four hours or until they soften. The older the bean, the longer it will need to cook. Add the cumin, salt, crushed pepper and chili powder to the crock pot.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon, and crumble it into the grease. Add the minced garlic and minced onion, and continue frying on low for several minutes.

Drain the beans one spoonful at a time, and add them to the skillet. Mash the beans as you add them. Use a potato masher, but do not worry about perfection. There should be texture to the refried beans, so leave some beans whole. Once you have all the beans in the skillet, add the additional butter or lard. If the beans are moist enough, however, don't add any additional grease.

Fry the beans over a very low heat. Do not burn. If the beans begin to stick, add a tablespoon or so of water or juice from pickled hot peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you don't plan on using all of the refried bean mixture in a day or two, freeze it in airtight containers. To prevent waste, freeze only enough for one meal in each container.

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