Saturday, May 23, 2015

Homemade Refried Beans

I love Mexican food and I also love making it at home. That said, I would classify what I make at home as Mexican-inspired as I'm well aware that what I do isn't authentic in the least… It still tastes great though and that's what matters, isn't it? Anyway, I've recently started making my own refried beans and I have to say, it makes all the difference. This isn't your typical sludgy, muddy goo that you get in cans at the store. This dish actually tastes like beans and it's great for having in the fridge. I use this on tacos, fajitas, bean burritos, dips and other dishes that are perfect for lunch or dinner. It's convenient to make this as a compliment to a dish on a Sunday and then enjoy the leftovers through the week.

Don't be scared off by this dish. It's not at all hard. While it does look time-consuming, it's mostly just being home for the time as the beans simmer, but doing it this way eliminates having to soak them overnight. For me, this is helpful because I never remember the night before.

I would suggest that you feel free to experiment with flavors in your beans. You can take out the garlic or add more, use lemon, add chili flakes or whatever sounds good to you, but this is how I make mine. Finally, I haven't tried freezing these, but I'm sure you could if you wanted. It would be nice to have some homemade refried beans in the freezer available for random taco nights.

500g dried pinto beans
2 litres of water
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Rinse the beans in cold water using a colander and put into a large, round, flame-proof casserole. Pour 1 liter of water over the beans.

2. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Remove the casserole from the heat and keep covered. Let it stand for at least 60 minutes and then drain and rinse the beans.

4. Return the beans to the same casserole and add the remaining 1 liter of water. Simmer over low heat, covered for 3 hours or until the beans are very soft. Check on them throughout the three hours and if needed, add more water so that they don't get dry and burn.

5. After the three hours when the beans are very soft, drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid.

6. Using the same casserole, heat the olive oil and stir in the minced garlic. Cook for about 1 minute or until soft, but don't let it burn.

7. Add the beans and mash them with a hand-held potato masher. Stir in about 100ml of the cooking liquid. The beans mixture should be like a paste. If necessary, stir in more water a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

8. Continue to cook uncovered on low heat for about 10 more minutes until very thick.

9. Season with salt & pepper to taste. If desired, serve with lime wedges or sprinkle a bit of lime juice across the top.


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