Thursday, April 02, 2009

Vegetarian Refried Beans - a rough guide

I made it back from Phoenix, and as predicted, did a lot of good eating while I was there. I need to post about that soon, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share sort of a recipe for one of my ultimate comfort foods - refried beans. Considering how much I love them, it's rather shocking that I've never attempted to cook them at home until now. Though I generally stay away from meaty things, when I go to restaurants, I don't care if the beans have lard in them; I'll eat them anyway. But I really don't want to use lard at home. And I was skeptical that I could achieve the same dreamy flavor without using lard, but I was quite pleased with the end result, especially considering that I just threw in a bit of this, a pinch of that. That's why this is more of a guide than a recipe....but you can still click here for a printable version.

Start with the beans! I used roughly 2 or 3 cups of whole pinto beans that I'd cooked from scratch. Had them simmering on the back burner over low heat. In the meantime, in a cast iron skillet, I lightly browned half an onion, diced, and added a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Stirred it for a few minutes and then added a pinch of mexican oregano, a pinch of smoked paprika, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of salt, and a ladle full of the beans, along with some of the liquid in which they'd been cooking. Mashed it all up with the back of the wooden spoon, and continued to add the beans, a ladle full at a time, mashing all along. Once all the beans were in the skillet and fairly well mashed, it was a little thick for my taste, so I added the rest of the bean broth and stirred until it was perfect. Then, because I am addicted to chipotle, I stirred in a little bit of chipotle in adobo sauce, and a sprinkling of cheese. And then it was even more perfect.  I can't believe I waited so long to make these, and I'm sure it won't be too long until I make them again and again and again...


Anonymous said...

I wish I was rich and that you were my personal chef! I can't tell you how many times I've had to ask, "Is there lard in your beans" before patronizing a restaurant. In Arizona, because much of the Mexican food is authentic, there is a lot of cooking with lard out there! I do not eat lardy beans, so this just further limits my choices of restaurant.

Like you, the refried bean is pretty much my best friend. Some day I may actually follow your "guidance" and make my own! Is the iron skillet a 'make or break' on this one or will a regular skillet suffice?


Lisa Mc said...

You have the yummiest Web site! My husband's a near-vegan so this stuff is gold, baby! Have you ever cooked up the beans in a slow-cooker? They come out really tasty. Also, my grandmother always used lard from a big tub in her kitchen and once I got over the grossness of it all, I realized her refritos were #1. But I suspect yours are right behind hers.

Soup and Song said...

Vicki, the cast iron skillet is NOT necessary! Just use any old pan you have - a non-stick would work nicely. And, when your ship comes in, you just call me up and I'll gladly be your personal chef :)

And Lisa, I'll do my best to keep the veg-friendly recipes coming! Thanks for the kind words. Enjoy!!