Not Really Refried Beans

It is really useful to have a recipe for refried beans in your repertoire. Not only is this a good way to use up leftover cooked beans, but it also works fine with canned beans. Refried beans make a tasty side dish but can also be used to stuff burritos, as a filling for a Southwestern-style omelet or even as the basis for a bean dip. Mine are pretty low in fat and purely vegetarian. Seasoning amounts are guidelines, so adjust freely according to your tastes and heat preferences.

Refried Beans

Serves: 4
Time to make: ~20 minutes

  • 2 cups canned or pre-cooked beans, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 sprig epazote
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • a dash liquid smoke

Heat the oil over medium. Saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add the epazote, garlic, seasonings and liquid smoke. Stir around to mix the spices and add the beans. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash coarsely with a potato masher, if you like your beans chunky, or puree in the food processor, adding some of the bean liquid as needed to make the mixture smooth. Garnish as you like (see the note).

Notes: Pinto beans are traditional. I have also used kidney beans and black beans with good results. Cilantro, salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, diced tomatoes, chopped green chiles and grated cheese are all appropriate garnishes.

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8 thoughts on “Not Really Refried Beans

  1. Marty 2 November 2006 at 5:19 pm

    What about the Huevos Shancheros?

  2. simplycooking 2 November 2006 at 9:00 pm

    That’ll be in the weekly roundup, but that wasn’t my recipe.

  3. David 6 November 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Burritos with refried beans were one of my first post-college cooking adventures, once I decided to broaden beyond mac & cheese a bit. They are still a good simple meal. What is “epazote”, I’m not familiar with that.

  4. simplycooking 7 November 2006 at 9:03 am

    Epazote is a Mexican herb that is commonly used with beans because it is supposed to reduce the (ahem) flatulence factor. I have found that Mexican ingredients are becoming more common in the grocery store as our local Latino population grows. But if you can’t find it there, you can order it from a spice retailer like Penzey’s. Cheers!

  5. cooking chat 8 November 2006 at 8:08 pm

    so epazote could replace beano?!?

  6. simplycooking 9 November 2006 at 8:56 am

    Think of it as nature’s beano.

  7. Chiles Rellenos « Simply Cooking 25 January 2007 at 6:28 pm

    […] like to use refried beans for this recipe, but you can use any filling that would make sense in a burrito. Meat eaters might […]

  8. […] refried beans […]

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