1 pound dried pinto beans
9 cups cold water
1 teaspoon dried epazote
1 medium white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ cup lard (you can substitute bacon drippings, vegetable oil or butter)
1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
salt to taste
Refried beans are a main staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex meals. They can be used in everything from Salvadoran pupusas (tasty pork and cheese stuffed masa tortillas), to borritos, enchiladas or empanadas. You can also top with grated cheese and eat straight out of a bowl. Traditional refried beans are made with epazote, a strong herb native to Mexico.
There are a couple of great reasons why epazote is traditionally added to authentic Mexican beans when cooking. Not only does it enhance the beans, providing the flavor we’ve all come to know and love in Mexican refried beans. Epazote also has natural carminative (gas-preventing) properties. So, you can now enjoy beans, the magical fruit…without the toot.
Preparing the beans
Allow the dried pinto beans to soak in water for 8 hours to overnight. Drain them well.
For the quick soak method: place the beans in a large pot and cover with cool water (about 2 – 3 inches over the top of the beans). Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 2 – 3 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and set aside for one hour. Drain well.
Peel and mince the garlic.
Dice the onion.
In a stock pan (or large cooking pan), add the following:
beans, soaked and drained
Heat ingredients over high until boiling. Stir the ingredients and then reduce your heat to low. Simmer the beans uncovered for 1 – ½ hours, or until they become very soft. Drain the beans, capturing the liquid for later use.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt lard (or your lard substitute) then add the onions. Sauté the onions until browned and soft (about 10 minutes).
Pour the drained beans into the skillet with your seasoned mixture. Using a ladle, add a small amount of the liquid you used to cook the beans in to the skillet.
Using a potato masher or large spoon, begin mashing the beans in the skillet. Ladle more liquid into the skillet and continue mashing the beans. Continue adding liquid and mashing until the beans have reached your desired texture and consistency.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve as a side dish or use in your favorite Mexican recipe. These refried beans are the perfect compliment to Shrimp Tacos and chips with Chile de Arbol Salsa.