Refried beans are a traditional staple of the Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It is prepared with cooked and mashed beans. Many recipes use pinto beans for their nutritional value, but the black bean variety is popular as well.
- 1 pound (2 heaped cups) dried black beans or pintos (washed and picked over)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 4 large garlic cloves (minced or put through a press)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 large sprigs epazote, or 2 heaped tablespoons cilantro leaves
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons pure ground chili powder (mild or medium-hot)
Make sure you soak the beans overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.
First, you will have to mix beans (without draining the water) with the onion and garlic cloves in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and remember that the mixture has to be covered by an inch of water.
Decrease the heat after some time, cover the pot, and let it simmer for an hour. Mix the garlic, cilantro, and salt. Cover and simmer for another hour until the beans are soft and a thick gravy has formed. Check if you think the amount of salt is right. Remove from heat.
Drain around a cup of liquid from the beans. However, do not throw away that water yet. Now, mash half of the beans either with a potato masher or a food processor. Stir the mashed mixture back into the pot.
Take a heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan and heat oil or lard in it. Add the cumin and ground chili. Stir over medium heat. Cook until the spices sizzle, are cooked, and smell nice. Then turn the heat to medium high, and add the beans. You can do this in batches to combine thoroughly; use a tablespoon for each batch.
Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts to get crusty at the bottom. Mix the crust back into the beans. Cook this for around 25 minutes.
Stop cooking at a point where the mixture is thick but not dry. In case it does seem to be dry, use the water you had drained earlier to moisten the beans. Taste and add salt if required.
This is a staple of the Tex-Mex cuisine as a result of the nutritional value. The calories in ½ cup serving are between 110-1140. It is very low on fat per serving with significant amounts of calcium, potassium, some amounts of fiber, and other essential nutrients.