Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Frijoles Refritos (Refried Beans)

Refried Beans

Unfortunately, beans are not everyone’s favorite food. Then to add insult to injury, we have to name a perfectly good bean dish “Refried Beans”! The problem exists because there just isn’t a one or two word English translation of the concept behind “Frijoles Refritos.”

To begin with, the beans are not fried and then especially not fried again. Although some kind of fat is generally used toward the end of the cooking process, frying really doesn’t occur. Better to think of them as “well cooked”.

The beans are really just cooked a lot, a whole lot. In my recipe the pre-soaked beans are cooked first with a rapid high-heat boil, followed by a long slow simmer and ending with another simmer together with sautéed aromatics.

What we end up with is not a greasy fried mess, but a buttery smooth treat that is a perfect side dish on its own or an integral part of any number of other delicious dishes.

Frijoles Refritos (Refried Beans)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings     Preparation Time: 20 Minutes     Cooking Time: 2 ¼ Hours


• 1 Pound Dried Pinto Beans, rinsed, sorted and soaked overnight in 8 cups of water

• 1 Small Yellow Onion, cut in half
• 1 Clove Garlic, cut in half

• ¼ Pound Salt Pork, scored and rolled in 1 Teaspoon of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• ¼ Cup Spanish Onion, finely diced

• 2 Cloves Garlic, minced

• 8 Slices Bacon, cut into 1” pieces
• 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
• 1 Tablespoon Adobo Sauce

Preparation steps

Step 1. In a stockpot, bring the Pinto Beans to a boil in the soaking liquid. Boil for 15 minutes then drain in a colander and rinse. Rinse out the pot and return the Beans to the pot with 8 cups fresh cold water, the Yellow Onion halves, Garlic and the Salt Pork. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally until the beans are very tender.

Step 2. When the Beans are cooked, remove from heat, discard the Onion, Garlic and Salt Pork and reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Let the Beans drain well in a colander.

Step 3. Set the stock pot over medium-high heat and add the Bacon, cooking until crisp. Remove the bacon, reserving for another use. Add the diced onion to the hot fat and cook for 4 minutes then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.

Step 4. Add ¼ cup of the reserved liquid and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan then add the drained Beans. Mash the beans by hand with a vegetable masher, adding more bean broth if necessary. Keep stirring the mashed beans until the texture is a chunky paste.

Step 5. Stir in the Kosher Salt and Adobo Sauce and when the beans have reached the desired consistency, remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve.

Tips and Trending

~ To make it easier to remove the onion and garlic used during the simmering stage, wrap both the onion and the garlic in a loose cheesecloth bag. 

~ Frijoles Refritos can be made a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated for use in other recipes.

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