Homemade Refried Beans
Making your own refried beans, or frijoles refritos, is easier than you think and completely worth it -- they are much better than the canned kind. Give yourself about 3 or 3.5 hours elapsed time.
2 cups (about 1 lb.) dry pinto beans
4 tbsp pork lard or rendered bacon fat
1 small white onion, finely chopped
6 cups water (more if necessary)
Rinse the beans in a colander, picking them over to remove dirt or pebbles. Put the rinsed beans, 2 tbsp lard or fat, the chopped onion, and the 6 cups of water in a large pot (about 4 quart-sized). Bring to a boil over high heat and then partially cover and turn down to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, about 2-2.5 hours. Season with a large pinch of salt.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the other 2 tbsp lard or fat over medium-high heat. Using a ladle, add one third of the cooked beans and their broth to the skillet. Mash the beans using the back of a wooden spoon, a spatula, or potato hand-masher. When they are coarsely mashed, add another third of the beans and broth, again mashing them. Add the last third and mash until the beans are well-pureed; there will still be some whole beans or chunks. Simmer the beans, stirring continuously, until they start to thicken (they'll thicken more off the heat), about 3-5 minutes. Take them off the heat. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately, or reheat them gently, adding a little broth or water if they have thickened too much, before serving.
Serves 6-8 people.
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