Nothing Like It – Refried Beans Made From Scratch
There is nothing like the taste of refried beans made from scratch – just writing about them gives me cravings… I first learned how to make refried beans at Trini and Carmen’s, a wonderful Mexican restaurant I worked at in Pontiac, Michigan in the 70’s. I will give you general instructions here, I do not use a recipe so amounts are approximate.
I use a pressure cooker to cook the beans since I do not have to soak them overnight using this method. Wash 1 lb. of dried pinto beans and cover with water approximately an additional 2 – 3 inches of the pan above the beans. Add about 1 tsp. of salt and a fresh clove of garlic crushed just enough to release the juices. Cook the beans for one hour after the top of the pressure cooker starts to rock – I keep the heat just high enough to make the top rock but not go crazy. Once the pressure cooker has cooled enough to release all of the steam, drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
Alternate method: clean the beans, soak them overnight in water to cover them and drain off the water the next morning. Add fresh water to cover above the beans by about an inch, 1 tsp. of salt and a bruised fresh garlic clove. Boil for two hours until soft. Drain and reserve liquid.
Heat a large frying pan on med high and add lard. You can use olive oil, I have in the past but the lard adds a flavor component that cannot be beat. Melt the lard or oil and add the drained beans, I use one of those screens that reduces splatter when I do this. Make sure all of the beans are coated with the lard or oil. Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring to prevent sticking.
Add enough of the reserved liquid to make the beans creamy and slightly soupy when mashed. Bring to a simmer and cook for about five minutes. Reduce heat to very low and mash the beans. If the mixture is too thick, add more reserved liquid. If you run out of liquid, add water. Taste. Add salt as needed. I add a pinch of cloves at this point. Keep on very low heat until you serve. Enjoy!
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