Homemade refried beans

We eat quite a bit of TexMex and that sort of thing, and it’s usually canned refried beans. Being honest, the taste is only ok even from the big brands, and I’m reminded of dog chow every time I open a can.

This recipe is low effort but takes a little while so it’s definitely a batch cook once in a while for me. It freezes brilliantly though, and is great to have going in the background on a Saturday afternoon.

This is a full kilo of dried pinto beans, five cloves of roughly chopped garlic, one red onion, cut in four, and a bay leaf.

The beans don’t need soaking, but they absolutely do need a pick through before going in the pot. Watch out for small stoners or grit, and any dodgy looking beans. I only had a couple in the whole kilo, but your milage may vary.

In with 3 litres of water, and into the instant pot. 15 minutes, leave for five, then release. Or for stovetop, a 45 minute simmer with the lid mostly on.

Test the beans at this stage. Pintos are a little fussy and every bag I’ve ever bought has needed a slightly different cooking time. I’d also caution against using a dusty bag from the back of the press as they may never soften enough for this recipe.

A good stir, and then back on. I did these for another ten in the instant pot as they were about half way there, then left to depressurise by itself.

Getting phase two underway while.the beans are still warm is a good plan. For smaller quantities, a frying pan and a potato masher work well; I used a my biggest saucepan and a stick blender!

Bay leaf in the bin, but the rest stays put. Pan/pot over medium heat and add two tablespoons of oil. Bacon fat is traditional but I didn’t have any so used sunflower oil as Scoop out about half the beans and get them frying, squishing and stirring with the ladle as you go, or mashing away.

Add the rest of the beans and adjust the liquid – it’ll use more of it than seems likely. At this point I added a teaspoon of ground cumin and two of salt. It’s a lot of beans.

Heat off and blender into the pot, adding more cooking water as needed.

Mmmm brown.

Adjust seasoning and liquid again, bearing in mind that these are not really supposed to taste salted or spiced.
These thicken a lot!

I bagged these into roughly 250g portions, which is about what we’d get through in one sitting. Make sure to squeeze all the air out.

This worked out at about 2.5kg of refried beans in ten bags which went into the freezer in a suitable tub-with-lid. Should be a couple of months before I need to make more!

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