Refried Beans . . . is it worth it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cooking beans, for me, is kind of a pain. You have to plan ahead. Still, I usually forget to soak the beans overnight. They take forever to cook . . . and their replacement (from the can) is so convenient. So, I've been wondering if it is really worth the effort to make your own. After playing around with a refried bean recipe. Well here are the benefits of DIY refried beans:

  • Flavor - these beans are mild, the flavors subtle, yet not at all plain.
  • Control - you control the
  • Storage - you can make a big batch and freeze it in portions for later
  • Cost - Meh, its a wash.
  • Toot Factor - from what I've read, long, slow cooking helps alleviate the ahem ... negative side effects of beans. Also, it is said amongst Indian cooks that Asafoetida will do the same, so add a pinch.

Final Note: When cooking with beer, it is absolutely essential that you buy at least a six pack. Trust me, there won't be leftovers.

Refried Beans

Refried Beans
1 lb dry pinto beans, picked over
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
12 oz bottle Mexican Beer
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)

Soak the beans overnight. Drain and rinse them several times before using. Meanwhile, saute the onions in oil until soft. Add the garlic, jalapeno and cumin and saute until the garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute longer. Add the beans, beer and enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and stir in the cilantro, lime juice and salt.

Simmer, uncovered over a medium boil. Then simmer some more. Add more water periodically to keep the beans from drying out. Simmer until the beans are soft, at least an hour, but longer won't hurt, it will just give more time for the flavor to develop. I cooked mine for three hours. A few minutes before you're ready to use them, use an immersion blender to blend the beans to desired consistency. Simmer longer, if needed, or add some more water.

I'm not sure how much this makes, probably a couple quarts of beans. And I don't refry them, they don't need it.

8 servings: 256 cal (4g fat, 39g carbs, 13g protein)

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  1. I've often wondered about the benefits of soaking and cooking Beans myself versus shop bought tins.
    I guess if I was to do up a whole load and then freeze them in batches it would be more economically sound. Trouble is...I never get round to it!!

    Ho hum........

  2. Anonymous Says:
  3. Yum! Thanks for the recipe...I love refried beans :o)


  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. I think anytime you can make it from scratch and know what is being put into it is a very good thing!

  6. Matt Says:
  7. The Mexican Restaurants around here are pretty good and usually, at least, have whole beans that are vegan. I can't tell you how many times, I've forgotten to look and brought home canned refried beans with lard, though. Gak@!#

  8. Anonymous Says:
  9. Have you tried cooking them in a crockpot? It makes cooking dry beans very easy... but you still have to remember to soak them, which I always forget! LOL

  10. Big Shot Says:
  11. I've been looking for a good refried bean recipe, I'll have to give yours a shot. Not to mention look into this "Asafoetida" stuff. My wife hates it when I have beans :)

  12. Matt Says:
  13. vegwife - last summer I cooked up a big pot of baked beans in my old-school ceramic crockpot. I dropped it on the counter and it cracked right in half. I'm still grieving too much to replace her =(

    Big Shot - asafoetida is also called hing. I get mine at an Asian Grocery.

  14. Mary Says:
  15. I'm simmering my beans right now. I'm making fahitas with roasted veggies and pico de gallo. Yay! Mexican in winter. Thanks for the idea!

  16. Jenn Says:
  17. Your refrieds look great! Thanks for the Asafoetida tip. I bought some, then sealed it away in many bags and a canister because it smells like armpit. I know it improves on cooking, but I've kind of forgotten about it.
    I use konbu (Japanese seaweed) when cooking dried beans. I think it helps reduce the effects. Also it brings salty flavor without adding salt to the cooked beans.


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