Tuesday, May 16, 2017

DIY Refried Beans

In January I made a list of 15-20 things I wanted to get done this year.  Some were big like refinish the front room floors and paint our bedroom.  Almost all were house related things.  Then there was one pretty small one:

Make refried beans from scratch

It seems easy but I tried a few years ago and it didn't go well.  Not at all.  And that scared me out of trying again for a while.

BUT, I've worked with dried beans a lot more in recent years and knew it was something I should be able to do.  There's nothing wrong with canned refried beans, we like them and eat them fairly regularly.  They are pretty much a staple (but that might also be the appeal of getting to eat chips AND having a guaranteed meal Luke will eat every time).

For Luke's birthday party we usually do Mexican food because it's really easy to put out a bunch of sides and meat and taco shells and chips and have everyone pile it all together.  The only thing easier would be grilling out and with his March birthday, the weather hasn't cooperated for that yet (last year it was snowing the day of his birthday party, in early April).

So, Mexican it usually is and that seemed like the perfect time to try out refried beans from scratch again.  If they weren't great, well we had a lot of people here to help us dispose of them.  (And I also had two cans in the basement if it really didn't go well.)

But, rest assured, I didn't have to feed our guests bad beans.  They turned out to be super easy to throw together and, other than the house stinking like onions and peppers all afternoon, I could ignore them most of the cooking time.  And they were good!

I'm sure we'd still go back to canned in a pinch and sometimes you just need a quick meal, and these aren't quick.  BUT, most of the time, I think we'll be eating these.  They have less salt, take few ingredients, and are super easy.

It feels good to easily check one item off my 2017 to-do list.  Now if anyone wants to help me make a t-shirt quilt...I am up for any help on that one...

DIY Refried Beans
yield: 12 servings?  It's about 4 meals for the three of us. A lot of beans
-1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed, any stones or weird beans removed
-1 tsp salt
-1 medium onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
-1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
-1 TB white vinegar
-salt to taste

1) You need to soak/cook the beans first.  If you are thinking ahead of time, you can put the rinsed beans in a pan covered with water about 1-2 inches over the top of the beans and let sit overnight.  OR (the method I usually do because I forget the night before), cover the rinsed beans with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Beans will expand so make sure you have a big enough pot!  No matter, the method, drain when at the end of the soaking or cooking.
2) Once drained, place the beans in a crockpot.  Cover with about 2 inches of water.  Add the salt, onion, garlic, and jalapeno.  Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours. 
3) Once the beans are tender, use a liquid measuring cup to pull out about a cup of liquid.  Put to the side and drain the rest of the beans in a colander.  You don't want them super dry but you don't need much extra liquid.
4) Now you need to mash everything.  I put the drained beans back into my crockpot and use my immersion blender to make them smooth and creamy.  You could also transfer to a food processor.  Add the 1TB of vinegar before mashing, however you do it.  If your beans seem too dry add some of the reserved bean liquid (I've never had to do this.).  Taste and salt (I am pretty generous with the salt).

That's it!  We've been eating them right away, refrigerating leftovers and eating them for supper for about 4 days in a row.  You could also freeze and thaw as needed!

Source: slightly modified from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

No comments: