Weekday Vegetarian: Make Refried Beans as a Base For Lots of Dishes


Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I know, I know, this is not a photogenic dish. In fact, as one of my previous commenters eloquently noted about another post, it looks like something the cat cacked up. Nasty visuals aside, these refried beans are the base of lots of great Mexican dishes. It may not be pretty to look at, but it is totally delicious.I've been dipping into a new cookbook called Viva Vegan! which has recipes for Latin foods. It's not a cuisine that I am really familiar with, and I'm enjoying reading through the recipes and deciding what to try. I've had a glut of eggplant from my garden and wanted to make an eggplant torta (check back tomorrow for that recipe), but first I had to make the refried beans. You can use them in tacos or enchiladas as well, but I made the torta and then just took my leftovers and heated them up and put them on top of rice and added some tomatoes and onions on the side for a quick and lazy lunch.

I know you can buy cans of refried beans in the grocery store, but this has so much more flavour and a better texture than you can get out of canned. In fact, I probably left more chunks of beans than is traditional, but I like texture. It's also really easy to make, and if you like Mexican food, it's a real staple to keep in your refrigerator.

This recipe is from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero, who is the co-author of the wonderful vegan cookbook Veganomicon.

Home-Style Refried Beans

2 tbsp corn, peanut or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1 to 2 jalepeno or serrano chilies, seeded and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground chile powder such as ancho or a blend
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto, black or pink beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 - 4 cups cooked beans
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
Salt and fresh pepper

1. In a large heave cast-iron skilled, combine the oil and garlic and cook over medium heat. Allow the garlic to sizzle for 30 seconds, then add the onion and jalapeno. Using a wooden spoon to stir occasionally, fry until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, and chile powder, and fry for another 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the beans, bay leaf, and water, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium again and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until more than half the liquid has been absorbed, but about an inch of liquid remains.

3. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Use a potato masher to mash the beans smooth, then stir to form a thick, moist paste, anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. If refried beans appear to dry out, add a little water a few tablespoons at a time, until your desired consistency is reached.

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Vegetarian Pinto Beans

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