Frijoles Refritos (Re-fried Beans)
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This is one of the simplest things to make in Mexican food. Lard isn’t necessary, but it does make for a better flavor. ‘Round here, if I smoke a shoulder or a leg, I’ll make a point of cutting off a nice big section of the skin/fat and render it to get some smokey (yeah I know it can be smoky, too) lard. Just a little bit goes a long way to getting a creamier texture in your re-fried beans.
Something that ought to be explained, is that our translation of “re-fried” is a bit of a misnomer. Really, these are fried beans, fried really well. In Spanish, that there “re” is used for emphasis, to mean very, or really. My wife would refer to me as re-guapo. So, refritos = very fried. Basically, these are blended/mashed beans, seasoned and cooked to uniform consistency. Let’s try not to make them into glue, though.
Re-fried beans are a two step process, before you mash, season and fry, they need to be cooked and hydrated. Why? Two reasons; 1. That’s how they taste good. 2. Under-cooked beans are mealy and can make you sick. Seriously, they can poison you.
Go get your pot of beans ready…. and now that 8 hours have passed, you can make some re-fried beans. You’re going to need something to mash them with. The bottom of a sturdy plastic cup, a potato ricer, or a strong slotted spatula will all work. You can use a stand-up or immersion blender, also, but I think mashed and stirred gives the best consistency.
Oh hey look, the recipe.
- 4 to 6 tablespoons lard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion
- 1 recipe of "Frijoles de olla"
- Melt the lard in a medium skillet or frying pan, don't burn it.
- Fry the onion in the lard until the onion is translucent, don't burn it.
- Get some of the beans in the pan and smash 'em. Give them a stir, add more beans.
- Add, stir, add, stir, add stir. Don't burn them.
- Note: You get to choose the consistency of your beans. If you want them thicker, cook them down on low heat, taking care to stir so they don't burn/stick. If you like them loose, you may add a bit of the bean water from your Pot 'o Beans.
- Flavor: Consider adding some cumin. I prefer beans with cumin. Salt to taste.