Thursday, June 14, 2012

From My Kitchen: Homemade Refried Beans

I have never liked beans.  But our current budget sorta mandates that we eat them.  Because they are cheap.  So I try to “dress them up a little” and try new recipes…always hoping to disguise the bean taste.  It doesn’t always work…and I am learning to like beans. 

Southwest Roll-ups

For several years I have enjoyed making Southwest Roll-ups from Money Saving Mom.  I had a bunch of tortillas in the freezer and wanted to make a batch f these burritos to have on hand for a quick meal.  But…Houston we have a problem…no refried beans.  I did, however, have a bunch of beans in the freezer which I had cooked up previously.  So I pulled up a recipe and made my own refried beans.

And they are delicious.

Refried Beans
Recipe from Jill of The Prairie Homestead via Money Saving Mom

Homemade Refried Beans

(Feel free to cut this recipe in half- it makes quite a lot. However, they also freeze well.)

  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans (You may used canned whole beans if you like. I prefer to use dry beans and cook them myself. Directions follow below.)
  • 3 T. healthy fat for sautéing (Butter, coconut oil, beef tallow, or lard would all work here. Avoid olive oil as it isn’t stable at high temperatures.)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 t. cumin
  • 2 t. paprika
  • 2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. chili powder (more or less- the intensity of chili powders seems to vary)
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • Milk, as needed (water or bean broth can be used if your family is dairy-free. However, I prefer the richness that the milk adds.)

Directions:
In a large pot or saucepan, saute the onions in the fat until they are soft and translucent.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  Add the beans. If your beans are without liquid, you may need to add extra water or milk at this point. (I prefer to leave a little of the bean broth in with the beans when I freeze them.)  Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, chili powder, and black pepper.  Bring to a slow simmer and allow it all to cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

If the mixture is dry, you may need to thin it with a splash of milk or water at this point. However, if you started out with extra liquid in your cooked beans, you may not need to add anything.

Once the beans have cooked down for a while and the flavors have had time to incorporate, mash them with a potato masher, fork, or my personal favorite: an immersion blender. I prefer slightly chunky beans, versus a super-smooth “puree” consistency.

Several things I changed…

I used half pinto beans and half Great Northern Beans….because that’s what I had on hand.  The coconut oil totally makes this recipe, in my opinion.  They smelled delicious while cooking, and tasted even better.  I was fortunate enough to have just ordered some coconut oil from Amazon on a great sale.

I omitted the onions, because Ben doesn’t like them.  And I was out of garlic, so I didn’t use it.  It was a bit too much cumin, so next time I will cut it back.  I also realized later that I never put the chili powder in.

I don’t think this makes such a big batch…not overwhelming, anyway.  I had 4 cups of beans, and I ended up with the equivalent of 2 cans of refried beans.  I’m sure it would freeze well too.  I combined my beans with shredded chicken (1 small chicken breast worth), the salsa I had on hand, and some cheddar cheese.  I ended up with 3 meals of burritos in the freezer, plus enough for lunch!

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