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February 08, 2006

Refried Black Beans

One of my favorite things about cooking is when I get to make a dish that is really simple, and yet really good. I also love it when I cook something that I've only had in restaurants, and the homemade version comes out better. The refried black beans that I made last night were a wonderful instance of both of these.

I more or less followed the recipe for 'Fried Beans' in Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday. (Bayless quite correctly points out that the Spanish refritos, usually translated as "refried", more properly translates as "thoroughly fried".) I cut down on the quantities, since there were just two of us. We gobbled up every bite, so next time I may just go ahead and make a larger batch. But here's what I used:

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. (A nonstick skillet makes cleaning up a breeze - I recommend it.) When the oil is hot, toss in the garlic, and cook it for about a minute. Add the beans, and mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon. (Or with a fork, or a potato masher.) I mashed to a fairly coarse consistency, leaving a fair number of whole beans. Keep cooking, mashing, and stirring until the dish has the consistency of mashed potatoes.

These are so much better than the gluey mess of pinto beans you get at a run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurant that it's not even funny. (You could make this recipe with pinto beans instead of black beans, and I expect it would still be yummy. Perhaps I'll try it sometime, though Mr. Spaceling professes a certain antipathy toward pinto beans. I suspect that this has to do with having eaten in too many run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurants.)

I served these with puerco a la Mexicana, another dish from Bayless's book, which was good enough to deserve an entry of its own. Stay tuned...

Posted by spaceling at February 8, 2006 10:35 PM

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