Monday, November 12, 2012

Refried Beans

I am sorry I don't have a photo of these....because honestly I just can't seem to get a good photo of them. I mean it is refried beans...not always the most nice looking dish. But these taste really good. So much better than from a can.

Refried Beans
adapted from The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World - review on yesterday's post

1 white onion - quarterd
6 cloves of garlic
4 Serrano chilies - seeded and halved
1 tablespoon cumin (can use cumin seed and ground in coffee grinder)
2 cups dried pinto or black beans
4 cups water
2 cups beer
3 to 4 table spoons vegetable oil
salt to taste

Pre-heat the broiler.  Place the onion, garlic, and chilies on a baking sheet and broil, turning, for  5 to 7 minutes, until blackened and blistered. Remove from broiler and transfer to a cutting board, chop coarsely.

Rinse and sort through the beans.  Place in the slow cooker and add water and beer. Add the onion mixture and the cumin. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are very tender.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil.  Spoon the beans into the pan, a bit at a time, and smash them with a potato masher.  Gradually add all the beans, then any remaining liquid. Cook until some of the liquid evaporates and the beans thicken.  The finished beans should have some texture to them.  IF you want a smoother texture, puree them in a food processor before adding to saute pan.  Stir in salt to taste and serve warm.

Dried Beans - I have to be honest I am hit and miss on dried beans not just for this, but for soups, baked beans or whatever recipe calls for dried beans. Sometimes they work and get to the soft buttery texture, but at times they don't.  I just read Lynne Alley's book 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker and she explained in it that dried beans can become old. They can have trouble hydrating if they are too old.  I have had many batches of beans never hydrate and that is even with soaking them over night. I always felt I was doing something wrong. But now I do think it was they were older beans.  So make sure if you are going to make these, don't just use the beans that have been sitting on your shelf for so long you can't remember when you got them - buy some new beans and you will have better luck - I am positive.   Also this recipe says you don't need to soak the beans over night, but because I have always been hit and miss on beans - I have always soaked them.  But next time I will try to buy fresh beans and not soak them - to see how they turn out.

Serrano Chilies - please google how to handle peppers if you haven't ever done so before - before you cut into them.


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