Whatever you think of the childhood saying, beans are technically fruit: just like tomatoes, they form from the fertilized flower of their plants and contain their seeds.
Since I’m obviously on a Mexican-food kick, I thought I’d post about one of the most necessary Mexican food ingredients: beans.
Pinto Beans, which have a mottled look to them (much like a pinto horse), are the most common variety in Mexico. For that reason, there’s a good chance that the refried beans you had in your last burrito were made with pintos. They’re also the most commonly used beans in chili.
Black Beans, or frijol negro and Kidney Beans are other varieties I’ve used as substitutes many times in my Mexican cooking. The black beans are particularly good for vegetarian dishes, as they have a nice meaty flavor and texture to them.
Which brings me to today’s recipe: homemade refried beans. Once you’ve made these, you’ll never want to go back to canned refried beans again, I promise.
Homemade Refried Beans
500 grams (about a pound) dried pinto beans
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt to taste
First you want to rinse the beans very well, making sure to get rid of any “bad” ones. Fill a deep saucepan with water, add the beans in, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook- covered- for about three hours, or until the beans are soft. Strain.
In a large frying pan (this is why they’re called “refried”!), add olive oil over medium heat. Once the pan in warm, add the strained beans, with 1/4 cup of water. Mash the beans in the pan using a potato masher. Taste the beans, and season with salt if necessary.
Serve with your favorite Mexican dish, and resolve never to buy canned again.