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Refried Pinto Beans

Refried Pinto Beans

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This post is dedicated to my mom.  We spent some time with her back in April.  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 is a Mexican restaurant;  doesn’t every town have one?  Over a very filling lunch (think super-sized) she mentioned that she still remembers the refried pinto beans I use to make when I was a kid.  She liked the texture of them.  Funny thing is, I make them very often but have never shared the recipe until now.    



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 of 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.


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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

How To:

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.




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Friday 22nd of June 2012

I made a version of these today (with lard! I live in Texas & get pork fat in my monthly meat share, so I started rendering my own for tortillas). They were fantastic and really hit the spot with a cold beer--thanks for the inspiration.


Thursday 14th of June 2012

Lard free?!?!? Sacrilegious. Just kidding. Similar to my hubby's recipe. It's delish!


Monday 11th of June 2012

This looks like a great summer snack. I suspect they're much better than the restaurant too!


Friday 8th of June 2012

I love the gritty texture you get in some mashed bean dishes. I have the really smooth ones we find in Mexican restaurant. Garlic and peppers definitely adds great flavor to the dish. I love how simple is your recipe.

wanda zuroff

Friday 8th of June 2012

These are the refried beans I like, not the over smashed kind you find at most Mexican eateries. Thanks, Denise.