Refritos (refried beans) belong with lots of different dishes; try a grilled cheese sandwich with a nice layer of refritos and maybe some pickled onions, for example.
If you decide to make the beans authentically, with lard, be sure you use unprocessed lard, not the processed white bricks that pass for lard in supermarkets. Olive oil may be substituted, but aficionados say its use is not authentic.
For this recipe, you'll need to reserve some of the beans' cooking liquid.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lard or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 medium white onion, cut into thin slices (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/4 pound rio zape, anasazi, flor de junio or pinto beans, soaked then cooked (see related TIPS on soaking and cooking)
- 1/2 cup reserved bean cooking liquid
Melt the lard or oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until it is soft and fragrant.
Add the beans along with about 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid. Cook the beans for about 15 minutes; use a potato masher to incorporate them into the onion during that time. The longer the beans cook, the smoother, richer and better they will be.
The beans will be done when they are smooth and thick with a bit of bean texture; the onions will have disappeared, and a spoon run through the beans will leave a trail. Season with salt to taste.
Adapted from "Heirloom Beans, " by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington (Chronicle, 2008).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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