Refried beans are a definite food staple in our house. And making your own are way better than canned since you can adjust ingredients and techniques to your own taste. Maybe you like your beans hotter, thicker, thinner, chunkier, more garlicy or more bland. Go for it! Best of all, these scratch-made beans are easy to make for a fraction of the cost of canned. I’m even using some kitchen leftovers to make my beans – a sad onion and some cilantro stems, which pack a lot of flavor. This recipe uses 5 pounds of dried pinto beans, which yields about 11 pounds of refried beans. I like to freeze a bulk of them for later use.
Scratch Made Refried Beans
5 pounds dried pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Lots of water
Cilantro stems from three bundles of cilantro, finely chopped
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander
salt to taste (I used about 5 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons sugar
Before we start a warning – DO NOT SALT YOUR BEANS UNTIL THE END of this process.
Place all ingredients except for salt and sugar in a large pot. Fill pot to 3 inches above ingredients with water. Place pot on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 2-2 1/2 hours. Add water as necessary – if the water disappears you will burn the beans. Once beans are very tender, remove pot from heat and place lid on top.
Rest until beans are cool (I usually do this in the evening and let them cool overnight). With a strainer over a bowl, drain liquid off beans, reserving it for later use.
Now for the bean mashing. Our friend over at Leen Cuisine says it best – if you are making beans from scratch, you have to have some “sick mashing skills.” But here at CPM, we believe in Cheat Codes. So, skip all that mashing and transfer drained beans to your stand mixer, filling bowl about 1/2 full. Add a little of reserved bean liquid, and, with a paddle attachment, mix on medium low speed until desired consistency is reached.
Place mashed beans back in pot on stove and turn to medium-low heat. Add bean liquid, a little at a time, back into the beans until desired liquidity is reached. Once you have the consistency you want and beans are hot but not simmering, taste the beans. Add sugar and salt and season to desired taste. Continue cooking, being sure mixture doesn’t boil, until your flavors have developed.
A this point they can be served. Once beans are completely cooled, you can package in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer for later use. Too cook from frozen – defrost and put in pot covered with lid. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, until hot.