July 04, 2007

Refried Beans

32 oz canned pinto beans, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 strips bacon

In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon (snacking bacon!) and saute the onion in the rendered fat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant. Remove from heat. Carefully drain off all of the bacon grease, leaving only about 1 1/2 tablespoons in the pan. Return to heat and add the beans and about 1/2 of the reserved liquid. Cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from, add the cumin and mash the beans with a potato masher or the back of a spoon.
My thoughts:
I love refried beans. Cooking them in a bit of bacon fat really makes all the difference, they are almost silky and have just a hint of smoky flavor. I know a lot of people like to make refried beans using dried beans, but I personally prefer to use canned. More than once I have made a recipe with dried beans only to have the final product have the musty, stale favor that comes from using old beans. Fresh beans are the absolute best, but I really think the next best thing is canned, especially if you take the time to buy high quality beans that are low in sodium,and that do not have additives to preserve color.