Refried Beans R Us!

The joy of glorious, delicious refried beans

 My love of refried beans is a quiet secret I usually keep to myself. To me, they’re absolutely delicious; when I make them at home, I find myself licking the spatula as though it’s loaded with cupcake batter. (And, yes, I do that too.) But many expats I know don’t share my affinity for frijoles refritos — or, God forbid, frijoles puercos — for one main reason: the fear of lard.

I find this fear kind of a random parameter, and I have to ask those people: Do you eat bacon? How about the crunchy, yummy skin on a perfectly roasted chicken? Or the crispy fat on the edge of a grilled pork chop? Please. Come on, now. Manteca, i.e., lard, is a perfectly acceptable form of fat when used and eaten in moderation. (In the words of one of my foodie friends: “I have no problem with any kind of rendered fat.”)

Tostadas simply aren’t tostadas without a base of well-made refried beans.

Refried beans are a cheap, simple protein powerhouse. They’re great for breakfast, as an accompaniment to eggs-any-style, scooped up with corn or flour tortillas. They’re an essential part of a mollete (perhaps the Mexican equivalent of a PB&J), spread onto a toasted bollilo (a fluffy sandwich roll) and topped with melted cheese, jalapeños and salsa verde or pico de gallo. Let us not forget nachos, tacos, burritos, quesadillas … the list goes on and on.




Basic Refried Beans

·         2 cups unsoaked dry peruano, black or pinto beans (or whatever kind you like)

·         2 quarts water

·         1 heaping teaspoon salt

·         3 Tbsp. corn oil, lard, bacon or sausage fat, etc.

Put everything in your slow cooker. Cook 10½ hours on high. This will yield about 5½ cups cooked beans with a little liquid.

Separate 2½ cups cooked beans and liquid; blend with immersion blender, regular blender or food processor till smooth. Heat 3 Tbsp. corn oil (or another kind of fat, but not butter as it will burn) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dump in blended beans; spread to edge of pan and, using a silicone spatula, stir, stir, stir.

Reduce heat to medium; continue stirring almost constantly, using the spatula to push the beans from the edge into the center. After about 10 minutes, you will suddenly see the texture change; the surface will start to look dry, and the bubbles will be bigger and dry-looking. At this point, stay close! All of a sudden, the mixture will be thick and done.

Remove from heat. Serve immediately with your favorite dish or cool, store and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week. Refried beans can also be frozen.


— Read the full article at The joy of glorious, delicious refried beans (   Janet Blaser is the author of the best-selling book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expatsfeatured on CNBC and MarketWatch. She has lived in Mexico since 2006. You can find her on Facebook.

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