All my life, I've eaten the slimy mush from a can know as "refried beans". I've never really liked it, but that's just what you eat with tacos. Then I discovered that you can make your own refried beans, and they actually taste good. These are our favorite side to homemade fajitas.
Caution: once you eat these you will NEVER want to go back to the canned version!You've been warned.
What you need For 6-8 servings (depending on how much you love beans):
- 8 oz dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight (or quick soaked). Follow the directions on the package.
- 5 cups water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tbs oil
- 1 recipe spice mix (see below)
For the Spice Mix: (Yes, this is almost the same as the chicken marinade in my fajitas. Why mess with something that tastes so good?)
- 2 Tbs oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs vinegar
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) Omit these if you don't like spicy beans.
Let's get cooking:
1. Drain the beans from the soaking water. Bring the soaked beans and 5 cups water to a boil--make sure to crack the lid, or it will overflow bean water everywhere! Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 2 hours, until the beans are very soft.
2. Meanwhile, chop up your onion. Heat 2 Tbs oil in a skillet. Add the onions over medium-low heat and let them caramelize for 30 min or more, until turning golden brown.
3. When the beans are fully cooked, drain the beans--but save the bean water! Combine the beans and onions. I like to mash mine with a potato masher, but you could use a blender/food processor if you like them very smooth. Use the bean water they were cooking in to reach the desired consistency. I make mine a little runny because they tend to thicken as they cool.
4. Heat up the refried beans to a simmer until the rest of your meal is ready. Now you can have healthy, tasty beans as the perfect compliment to your Mexican meals!