I love refried beans. I could eat them most every day. But since I’m lazy, I’ve always bought them from a can. Until a few months ago, that is. With the help of my pressure canner and Vitamix *, I’m making my own ‘refried’ beans in about 40 minutes. They beat the canned version in both flavor and cost hands down! They’re also super simple to make and freeze well for later.
Basically, you just need a pressure cooker (although you can cook beans in a regular pot, it just takes a lot longer), a blender or food processor, dried pinto beans, an onion, a carrot or two, some water and seasonings of your choice. And about 40 minutes of time.
Because I only have a 6-quart pressure cooker, I generally only use about 2 lbs of beans at a time (the manufacturers directions when cooking beans say to only fill half way up because they foam when they cook…although I haven’t tested this warning, and I haven’t noticed foaming myself, I still adhere to the advice). I rinse and sort the dry beans before
dumping them into my pressure cooker. Next, I add 2-3 inches of water on top of
the beans (it always seems like too much when I do it, but then I end up adding water later in the process, so don’t be shy about 3 inches of water). To this mix, I add a bit of salt, a sweet yellow onion cut in quarters, and 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds.
That’s it for now.
I cook my beans in my pressure canner until the weight starts rocking. From that point, I set the timer and cook them for 30 minutes longer.
After I let them cool a bit, I add small batches to my Vitamix along with garlic, cumin, salt, and any other spice or herb that strikes me fancy at the moment. Sometimes I add fresh cilantro or some salsa or tomatoes or jalapenos. It’s all a matter of taste. I make them slightly different each time, depending on my mood and the supplies I have at hand. Oh, and I usually have to add a bit of water. (A friend of mine, who turned me on to this simple
process also adds a bit of lard during the blending process. This adds a more authentic taste, but also adds extra calories, so I skip that addition.)
Since I just add a pinch of this and a shake or two of that, it’s essential that I taste the beans as I go. But the bad thing about this is that I then get hungry for some of those warm, delicious beans. So, it’s become a tradition to make a bean burrito at the end of the process. It’s my reward. Mmmmmm. Good.
Even though I eat beans regularly, I still squirrel away a bit of each batch to the freezer so that I’m never without refried beans at a moments notice. Try them for yourself. It will ruin you, though. You’ll never look at canned beans the same way afterwards.
Consider yourself warned.
* Disclaimer: if you order a Vitamix from the link above, you’ll get free shipping, and I’ll get a small commission ( a win/win deal)…but I want you to know I’ve had my Vitamix for years and think it’s the best kitchen appliance I own…so I’d be telling you of it’s great wonders anyway, just because it’s a great product. I’m just sayin’.