Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homemade Refried Beans

If you are a faithful reader of Near to Nothing, you know that we love dried beans!!  They are economical, easy, nutritious, and versatile (e.g. hummus, taco salad, chili, and burritos).  I’ve been cooking and serving dried beans for quite a few years, but I just recently started using them to make homemade refried beans.

Traditional refried beans are made with lard (or bacon drippings).  While not the healthiest way to eat beans, definitely one of the tastiest in my opinion.  If you’re willing to give up authenticity, you can make homemade fat-free refried beans.


Committed Near to Nothing readers will also know that I like to use kitchen gadgets for more than their marketed use (like using my egg slicer for olives or strawberries).  If a tool or utensil only has one specific use, you probably won’t find it in my kitchen.  No salad spinner here!  Consequently, my potato masher is used for more than just mashing potatoes:  sweet potato casserole, guacamole, baby food, cookie crumbs, and refried beans.  Once the beans are tender, I just mash them in the pot with my potato masher.













Traditional Refried Beans
1 lb. dry pinto beans (about 2½ c.)
6 c. water
¼ c. lard or bacon drippings (do not substitute vegetable shortening)
2 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp. cumin
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)

Put beans and water in crock pot.  Cook on high until beans are very tender, about 5-6 hours, adding water as needed to keep beans covered.  In a large skillet, melt lard over medium heat.  Add beans, cooking liquid, salt, garlic, cumin, and cayenne.  Mash beans with back of spoon or potato masher.  Cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes, stirring often, until desired consistency.  Can be frozen in an air-tight container.  Yield:  about 6 cups (about 54 oz.).  Total cost:  less than $1!!!

Fat-free Refried Beans
2 lb. dry pinto beans (about 5 c.)
½-¾ large onion, roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 Tbsp. cumin
½ Tbsp. dried oregano
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
12 c. water
4 tsp. salt

In large crock pot, place all ingredients except salt.  Cook on high 5-6 hours, until beans are very tender, adding water as needed to keep beans covered.  Ladle out 4 c. cooking liquid; reserve.  Stir in salt.  Mash beans with back of spoon or potato masher.  Add reserved liquid as needed for proper consistency.  Can be frozen in an air-tight container.  Yield:  about 12 cups. (about 110 oz.).  Total cost:  about $1.50!!!

Refried beans can be topped with cheese and served as a side dish or used to fill burritos and chimichangas.  They are also great for bean dip or seven layer dip.  Yum!

18 comments:

Kristin said...

can you freeze refried beans?

Sumiko said...

Hi, Kristin!

Yes!!! You can freeze refried beans!! The fat-free recipe makes about 12 cups. We eat some the day I make them and freeze 3 containers for future meals. Give all the kids hugs for us!

JaimeSews said...

You guys are superstars. Thanks for sharing all your wisdom!

dusty said...

So yummy! Thank you for sharing this recipe and the burritos idea. They are so handy to have in the freezer. My husband keeps a bag of them at work for quick lunches.

Skye said...

The fat-free refried beans were so yummy! My husband, who is super picky loved them! So did my 3 year-old! Thanks so much. Bonus now I have a bunch in my freezer and they will not go to waste! Thanks again!

Laina's Corner said...

I am not a bean lover but am having a huge family dinner in a few weeks, taco salad. I will use your crock pot recipe and see how it goes. Sounds like something I can easily do. Thanks!

Momochan said...

This recipe looks so great. I can't wait to give it a try. I do have one question though, Is it not necessary to soak your beans over night and discard the water and then proceed? (I really hope not because the easier the better!) I just ask because I'm wondering what you know about the debate about it being healthier to soak your beans or being healthier not to soak your beans-I've read things on both sides of the debate and don't know what to think. I'd love your insight because you seem like a person who would know!

Sumiko said...

Ah, the great bean-soaking debate! I personally don't have an opinion on the matter--I do it both ways. As you've said, there are experts and strong opinions on both sides of the matter. I'm more of a pragmatist---if I have time, I soak; if not, I don't. If you want to soak your beans before making refried beans, just keep in mind that it will cut down the cooking time. As far as discarding the soaking water, I usually don't because I'm lazy. =-) If I'm making a bean soup that I want to thicken up, I want the starch in the soaking liquid anyway. Sorry I can't give you more of a definite answer.

uniquelynat said...

this looks like a super yummy recipe! i can't wait to try it!!
question: could you just keep these whole and not mash then into refried?? and use them in burritos or whatever? my husband prefers whole beans, so just wondering.
THanks!!

Sumiko said...

You could definitely keep them whole! Keep in mind that most of the seasonings will be in the juice though.

Dawn said...

ahem, the salad spinner does have multiple uses. you know those nasty pumpkins guts that for ever seem to stick to the seeds you want to roast? yep, drop them in your salad spinner and give it a few go rounds. all the guts spin off and the seeds come out drier and ready for roasting

Shelby Bingham said...

I just made the fat free refried beans, but I had a bit of a problem. I soaked the beans over night. I then cooked them in the crockpot on high for 7 hours and the beans still weren't as soft as I had hoped. I mashed with a potato masher, but I ended up blending them in the blender in small batches because it wasn't getting the beans mushed enough. Any thoughts or tips to what I might be doing wrong? Thanks!

Sumiko said...

So sorry the beans didn't work out for you!! Do you have an older slow cooker? In recent years manufacturers have upped the heat on them. If yours is too old, it just may not get hot enough. This is great from some recipes like roasts, but not great for beans. My slow cooker is roughly 8-9 years old.

You can certainly cook the beans on the stove. And I'm sure it could be done in the oven, though I've never tried. I would overnight soak or quick soak then put in a 325 oven until soft. Perhaps I'll have to try this next time I make a batch.

I hope this helps!!

Colby and Jessica said...

sometimes if your beans are expired it takes alot longer to get them softer. Even after soaking them. I found that if they are more than a year old they are probably expired. When you soak them add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water.
helps alot!

elise said...

i make beans vvery similar to these all the time and i've learned soaking the beans overnight is especially helpful if you have trouble with the after effects of eating beans (gas) ;) if you discard the bubbly water from soaking the beans and rinse them again, you'll probably notice less trouble the next day. you also need a lot less water to cook them in.

Anonymous said...

Now will you tell us how to make the rice to go along with the beans? I just can't get my rice to taste like the rice in a Mexican restaurant.

Kimiko said...

We have actually just recently figured out a decent rice recipe and are working on fine tuning it! Check back for our recipe sometime soon!

deehunny said...

I LOVE this recipe. Thank you for posting! I have made it countless times for my family and always make the fatfree crockpot version. Thank you!

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