This post is dedicated to my mom. We went to spend some time with her back in April over the Easter Holiday. I grew up in a tiny little town, with not many dining out options. Today, it is still a tiny town without many dining options. Of course, there was a Mexican restaurant; doesn’t every town have one? And it was one of my mom’s favorite places to hit.Over a very filling lunch (think super-sized) she mentioned that she still remembers the refried beans I use to make when I was a kid. She liked the texture of them. Funny thing is, I make them pretty often. It is often our quick go-to-lunch at home. I just have never shared my recipe for smashed pinto beans her. Bad.
Lenny and I both love beans and we don’t discriminate, they are all good. Guilty pleasure, I loved refried beans, and usually order them instead of black beans when we are going Mexican. I love how creamy they are (thanks to lard), and I can not resist smearing them all over my tacos. I know, maybe a little weird. I do love them.
My smashed (aka… refried) bean recipe is simple. Lard-free. Spicy. Full of texture. I like to use pinto beans that I have cooked ahead of time and stored for when a hunkering of delicious hits. A couple times a month, I pick a bean and cook up a big pot. They freeze wonderfully, and can be used for recipes like this or to toss into soups and stews. If you don’t have the time to precook a big pot of beans, feel free to use canned. I cook up some yellow onion, garlic (I used green this time), and serranos, until slightly soft. Then I pour in the beans along with some of their nectar. Cook, stir, cook and stir. Once the mixture is slightly thick, I start smashing with a potato masher. I do not make the bean mixture completely smooth, I leave a lot of whole beans in there. They are the texture. That is really it. Easy.
Refried Pinto Beans
4 cups of pinto beans, with 3/4 of their nectar
1 large green garlic bulb or 3 small cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lime juiced
1 serrano, diced w/seeds (more or less depending on the heat you like)
kosher salt to taste
In a large frying pan, over medium-low heat, gently heat the olive oil.
Add the onion and garlic, stir, and cook until soft. About 3 – 5 minutes depending on the heat of your stove. Stir every so often.
Add the serrano, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add the beans with their nectar, lower the heat to a simmer, stir and cook for about 5 – 8 minutes, until the nectar is reduced slightly.
Using a potato masher, gently mash. Do not over mash, leave about half of the beans whole. A little texture is great.
Add the lime juice and season with salt to taste. Stir.
Gently heat for 1 minute.