My older daughter has a strong aversion to dried beans.
It’s the weirdest thing because beans are a staple in this family. I keep the pantry stocked with black, red, navy, and pinto beans, as well as green and red lentils—none of which she likes (but eats nonetheless, since it’s what’s for supper).
I’m hoping she out grows her dislike someday, but I’m not too optimistic. Even after three years of living in Bean Central (otherwise known as Central America), my husband still isn’t that fond of the magical fruit. My daughter gets her bean-hate from him.
This is where refried beans comes into the picture. She much prefers beans when they’re not in their beany form (it must be a texture thing, not a tastebud thing). I made a big pot of refried beans the other night for supper, and she was gratifyingly grateful.
The rest of the family liked them, too. We topped the puddle of beans with sour cream and cheese and salsa and then scooped the whole mess into our mouths via soft flour tortillas.
There are many ways to make refried beans, and I’ve experimented with a variety recipes. However, it’s my own creation that I keep coming back to. Probably because it involves bacon grease.
Bacon grease is a precious commodity in my kitchen. I love to use it in place of butter when frying eggs or sauteing the veggies for a potato soup.
Please tell me you reserve your bacon grease, yes? Yes? Oh, good! We of the bacon grease saving mentality are kindred spirits.
1 pound pinto beans, cooked until very soft
1/4 cup bacon grease
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
lots of salt
Saute the onion in the bacon grease until tender. Add the garlic and saute for a couple more minutes. Add the beans and some of their broth (reserve the remaining juice in case you need to thin the beans further) and heat through. Using an immersion or stand blender, blend until smooth. Season with salt, and don’t be skimpy about it, either.
Note: these freeze well.