Friday, March 1, 2013

Refried Beans

If it were up to me, we would eat Mexican food every day. I never get tired of it. Tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, and burrito bowls are all on regular rotation in our house.  I have used canned refried beans in many of the meals, but not really as a side on their own. I mean, it looks a little too much like cat food, right?  I've now learned that making your own refried beans is actually very easy and the taste is far superior to the canned variety (no surprise there!).  These take about 20 minutes from start to finish. The flavor of these homemade beans is just like you get in a Mexican restaurant - perfectly smooth and creamy and completely fabulous. (I used an immersion blender at the end with some extra chicken broth to get every lump out).

I did change one part of the original recipe.  It called for 2 slices of bacon in the beginning and then to use the bacon fat to continue with the recipe.  We rarely buy bacon, and I didn't really want chunks of bacon in the beans anyway, so I went with a little bit of butter instead. Next time I will make a larger batch (maybe in the crockpot?) so we can freeze extra portions.

This recipe is part of the latest installment for the What's Cooking Recipe Swap, hosted by Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking. Coincidentally, I received Sarah's blog as my swap. Talk about choices...she has hundred and hundreds, (or thousands?!) of fantastic recipes to choose from. Thank you, Sarah, for a great recipe and hosting another round!

Source: Slightly modified from A Taste of Home Cooking

  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked pinto beans)
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup salsa (optional)
  • Shredded cheese and sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pan.  Add the onion to the pan and cook until just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beans to the pan. Pour in about 2/3 cup of the broth, bring to a boil, and reduce to a light simmer. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the beans are soft enough to mash easily.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the salsa if using, and mash the bean mixture as desired. For a chunkier texture, use a fork or potato masher. For a smoother texture, pulse the mixture in a food processor. Add up to 1/3 cup more broth for a lighter texture if needed. Adjust seasonings to taste. Top with shredded cheese and sliced scallions. Serve.

Be sure to check out the other great recipes from the What's Cooking Swap this week!

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