Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Homemade Refried Black Beans

I think my love for refried beans started when I was about 9. The only fast food restaurant my mom would let us eat from was Taco Bell, and even that was a rare treat. But we couldn't have anything with ground beef. This might have been around the time of one of the Mad Cow media frenzies, but I can't be sure. That basically left two choices from the Taco Bell menu: chicken soft taco or a bean burrito. I got one of each. I liked the chicken soft taco, especially with those little packets of hot sauce (this was before the introduction of the fourth level of heat: fire), but I loved the bean burrito. The ooey gooey beans all melted together with the cheese and the little cubes of onion. MMM.

When I was 19, I was introduced to my next level of refried love. At Rosa Mexicana. A sort-of upscale Mexican restaurant in D.C that served all of their meals with rice and refried BLACK beans. O. So. Good. Why hadn't I found these before?

Turns out they're also basically the easiest thing to make ever. So this isn't really a recipe, it's just more like a really good idea I felt the need to pass along. Try them in tacos, quesadillas, or my favorite--simple bean burritoes with cheese and little cubes of onion. They're so much better than the stuff from the can.

Refried Black Beans

1 lb. cooked black beans (or 1 can), drained, with the cooking liquid reserved
glug of olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 ancho chili (or a few shakes of cayenne pepper)

-In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Saute the garlic and onions until they are soft and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes.
-Add the beans, cumin, chili powder, and chili and cooking stirring occasionally about 20 minutes or until the beans start to split and get very soft. If the beans start to get dry and stick add some of the cooking liquid, one tablespoon at a time.
-When the beans are soft, remove the whole chili, and mash with a potato masher or put in a food processor and process until smooth.


muddywaters said...

I've only made refried beans a couple of times. For convenience I always just open a can. However, a lot of flavor is sacrificed in doing this.

I'll need to give this recipe a shot.

Heidi said...

Thanks for the recipe. I have been trying to find canned refried black beans in the store with no luck. This way I can make my own and not depend on the store to carry them.