Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homemade Refried Beans

My mom and I love Mexican food, but sometimes refried beans can be very bland. This recipe was not only easy, but it gave our dinner a fabulous flavor!

Refried Beans (Serves 4 to 6)

3 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used light red kidney beans)
1 cup water
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
Hot pepper sauce (optional)

1) Process the beans and water in a food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides of the workbowl with a rubber spatula as necessary, about 30 seconds; set aside.

2) Put the oil, onion, chile, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and just begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the bean mixture until thoroughly combined, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans have thickened and the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, if using, and adjust the seasonings with salt and hot pepper sauce to taste. Serve immediately.

Observations/Suggestions: My biggest mistake was not using a jalapeno. When I went to make the recipe, that was the one ingredient that I had failed to purchase. (Urgh, right?) But, I will definitely add it next time. As a substitute, I increased the cumin to a heaping tsp and added some cayenne pepper. Then, at the end, I also added about 1 tsp of a spice mix designed for bean dips. It really kicked up the flavor. Instead of stirring in the cilantro leaves at the end, I let everyone decide whether or not to add them on top. (I don't mind cilantro, but I by no means prefer it). In this recipe, there is a lot of room for interpretation, so feel free to have some fun!

Recommended? A cautious yes. Although refried beans are great homemade, I felt it could have had more to offer. Next time, I'm adding additional spices and mixing salsa into it.

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