I have made refried beans from scratch before, and it’s only about 25 minutes of work (but spread over 24 hours). When compared to a canned refried beans, the difference is like night-and-day. This time I followed Chris Kimball advise, and abandoned my dried pinto beans in favor of canned whole beans. Overall, the dried beans require overnight soaking, but are only a few minutes more work. The ingredient list in today’s beans is shorter, and the bacon (in lieu of salt pork) is a more convenient ingredient; not requiring an extra trip to the supermarket. Still, I would recommend adding a few of spices to improve the simple flavor; it doesn’t add any extra effort. The simple recipe as written is 3-stars.
- When compared to this other recipe, I would recommend adding any of the following ingredients that you happened to have available:
-Substitute 1/4-cup chicken stock for the 1/4 cup water.
-1 minced jalapeno chile, seeded. (added with the onions)
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (added with the garlic)
-1/2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves (added at the end)
-1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (added at the end)
-A little crumbled queso fresco or grated jack or mozzarella cheese.
- I was a little worried about using a metal potato mashed in my non-stick skillet, but the beans are thick enough to the potato masher never touches the pan.
- I made these refried beans as part of my Mexican Feast.
Rating: 3 star.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 5:00 PM.
Cook’s Illustrated original recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:
2 slices bacon
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
15-oz can pinto beans (do not rinse)
1/4 cup water
- Cook two slices of bacon in a 10″ non-stick skillet over medium-low burner for about 8 to 9 minutes; flipping bacon and rearranging as necessary so that it cooks evenly.
- Meanwhile finely chop your onion, and peel your garlic cloves.
- After the bacon has rendered it’s fat and has crisped, remove it to a paper towel to soak up any extra fat. Chris Kimball says to “reserve for another use”, but I crumbled it on top of the finished beans.
- Turn up burner to medium, and saute the chopped onion in the bacon fat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until it lightly browns. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Empty the canned beans (including their liquid) and 1/4 cup of water into the skillet with the onions. Bring up to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, while mashing the beans with a potato masher until it becomes mostly smooth
- Season with salt to taste, and serve.