Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No-fry refried beans

This week's Anasazi beans had a wonderful flavor that got better every day. I thought I'd make something similar to be the basis of several meals this week.

I'm out of Anasazi beans but I have plenty of pintos.

Since we're traveling soon, I want to freeze a couple of servings to heat up along the way. A quart of the Southwest Baked Beans are already frozen for the road.

Homemade refries next week means starting the beans now. We won't be able to eat them till at least Day 4. Here's how I make refries that are smooth, creamy, and full of flavor without frying even once!

Day 1 (today, 3 pm) - Measure out the beans (3 cups), rinse them, pick out the broken ones, then cover them with cold water in a big bowl. They're going to grow so they need space.

Day 2 (tomorrow afternoon sometime) - Pour off this water, add fresh, and make sure the beans are covered.

Day 3 (Monday afternoon sometime) - Check the beans to make sure they're beginning to ferment (little bubbles are forming). If not, let them go a while longer. Or if you want, let them go till the next day after rinsing them and making sure they're covered.

Let's say I'll find them fermenting on Monday afternoon and I have time for the next step. Then I'll go ahead and....

Cook them. Pour off the water, put them into a pot, cover them barely with fresh water and cook on low. Don't set the lid down on the pot, but you can tilt it to help keep the heat in.


Cook them in a crock pot the same way, except that you will want to cover them completely.

Cook for about an hour. Check for softness. How quickly they cook will depend on how old the beans are, among other things. You want the cooked beans be creamy. (Some beans never soften that much, but pinto beans as well as others do.)

My old beans cooked for over 4 hours before they looked like good candidates for creamy refries.

Those are the basics. But what I'm going to do is add the same veggies I did with my wonderful Southwestern Baked Bean concoction. These included an onion, several cloves of garlic, and chopped chili peppers. This time I'm using ones I roasted earlier today. You can also add finely chopped carrot - but don't add celery: then you would have savory refried beans, which haven't been invented yet. The veggies should all be added when you begin cooking the beans.

Once the beans (and veggies) are soft and creamy, take the pot off the heat and let the mixture cool a little. Then mash it all up or run it through a food processor or use a wand mixer to homogenize the mixture. Then salt to taste w/ good salt. I used a wand mixer and in about 5 mess-free minutes I had delightfully creamy 'refried' pintos.

Variation: add side pork to the pot of beans when it starts to cook. The amount is up to you, maybe 1/4-1/2 cup, chopped. Or maybe more.

Serve these refries alone, or with cheese, on tacos or burritos or in a bowl with a spoon. 3 cups dry beans makes a lot of refries! You can cut the recipe in half but these are easy to freeze, so why not make enough for planned-overs?

PS - The fresh chilies I bought for this recipe were wimps. I could have used 5 or 6 instead of the two that should have given the beans a decided zest.

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