I am deep in the throws of taco cleanse detox symptoms. I’ve got the cumin sweats and everything. Luckily my fridge is well stocked so I decided to rerun one of my all time favorite recipes for refried beans. Earlier this year I went to a SXSW panel about Taco Journalism and Mando Rayo explained that refried beans are integral to a traditional taco and that they are the equivalent of mayonnaise on an American sandwich. I thought it was an interesting way to think about refried beans. My college roommate used to add refried beans to our crunchy tacos and they made such a difference that it makes sense. These beans take a while but they are really easy, the recipe is totally flexible to what you have on hand, and it’s so worth it, I promise. I made them last week with black beans and they were fantastic but here is the original.
2 cups of dried pinto (or black) beans
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (not olive oil)
1 whole roasted garlic bulb
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1 Tsp Epazote or Mexican Oregano or even bay leaves
1 onion, chopped
unsweetened almond or hemp milk
Sort the beans and pick out any rocks and give them a rinse with cold water. Put them in a pot with 8 cups of water, the bay leaf, and the epazote and bring to a simmer. Simmer for the next two hours stirring and adding more hot water as needed so that the water level stays above the beans. Make sure the beans don’t get stuck on the bottom by keeping the temp really low and stirring.
Meanwhile roast the garlic
Once the beans are soft add the oil, salt, rotel, and garlic. Simmer as before for another hour at least. The longer they cook the better they will taste and you can’t over cook them because they are just going to get mashed up anyway.
Here we left the beans in the fridge over night because something came up but you could proceed with cooking them now or wait until the next day to finish for a quick dinner.
Strain out any excess water from the beans. Some water is fine but if you still have a couple inches over the beans you might want to pour it out or else it will take longer to cook off. Brown an onion in a large cast iron skillet and then add the bean mixture. After some of the water has evaporated mash the beans with a potato masher. Add some almond milk and stir adding more until you reach your desired consistency. Cook over low heat, stirring, for at least 5 minutes adding more milk if necessary and then enjoy with every Mexican dish you make!