I thought it would be fun for us to do a series on the blog of 'signature recipes' of the staff members here at Small Farm Central. Starting with me!
Refried beans are a staple in my house for a quick burrito meal or to make nachos. I almost always have these around. Since I find myself cooking beans so often, I splurged on a spanish olla (clay bean cooking pot) this summer. This brings even more pleasure to this process.
You can buy wonderful heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, but for these every day refried beans I use basic pinto beans from the grocery store.
This a vegetarian recipe for refried beans, but I'm sure they would be wonderful refried with lard, too!
Simon's Signature Refried Beans
- 1lb dry pinto beans (or black beans)
- 1 large onion, peeled, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
- 3 stocks of celery (optional), roughly chopped
- 2 tsp crushed cumin (for best flavor, crush whole cumin seeds in the mortar and pestle) or 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Cover beans with cold water and soak 6 hours or more (or use your preferred bean soaking method).
- Strain the beans from the soaking water and add enough fresh, cold water to your pot to cover the beans with 1-2 inches of water.
- Bring the beans to a boil. While the beans are coming to a boil, roughly chop the onion, garlic, and celery and add to the bean water.
- Allow beans to boil for 5-10 minutes, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover.
- After about an hour and the beans have begun to soften, add one tablespoon of salt (or to taste).
- Turn off the heat once the beans are very soft (usually takes 1.5-2 hours on low simmer).
- Often I'll eat some of the beans at this point and then refry the next day.
- To refry the beans, melt the butter in a large skillet and then transfer the cooked beans to the skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the beans to boil the cooking liquid away until it reaches a pretty thick consistency. While the beans are boiling, use a potato masher to mash some of the beans (but not all! I like my refried beans a little bit chunky). Near the end of the refrying, when the beans are thick, you will need to stir often to keep the beans from burning on the bottom.
- When thick consistency is reached, add the cumin or cilantro and taste for salt.
Eat beans on tortillas, in nachos, or in any mexican dish that uses refried beans!
It is my habit to make 2lbs of dry beans and freeze 1 or 2 quarts of the cooked beans before refrying. Then I can pull the frozen beans out in a week or two for another round of delicious beans!