If you've ever wanted to make your own Refried Beans, this is the best recipe! These are easier than you might imagine and so delicious!
Beans, beans, the musical fruit...... Beans do have a poor reputation, don't they? But THESE beans, well, I could probably live on these beans. My friend Marta has made these for lunch, for dinner, AND for breakfast! That's right, spread them on a tortilla, put a fried egg on top and enjoy! So you really could live on these!
Debbie is our resident Latin food expert and the first time she had these "not" refried beans she wanted the recipe. One of the secrets is that these are not fried or refried. They are cooked and re-cooked, but with very little oil, making this a healthy-ish version of the classic recipe.
The second secret is the addition of an herb often found in Latin cooking, not so much here in the US. The herb is epazote (epa•zōtā). Epazote, in addition to helping reduce the flatulence that often results from eating high fiber beans, has many other nutritional benefits. Here is a good article on the benefits of epazote.
One of the BEST things about this recipe is that the time consuming part can be done well in advance. In fact, they can be frozen for up to six months!
So make a batch, or a double or triple batch, freeze them, and always have fresh, home cooked beans on hand for Taco Tuesday or weekend company.
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Marta's Healthy Tasty NOT Refried Beans
- 1 pound dried beans, about 2 cups, See Gr8 Notes
- 2 quarters of a large brown onion, peeled
- 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 stem epazote, See Gr8 Notes
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 whole serrano chiles, feel free to use more if desired.
SOAK THE BEANS OVERNIGHT:
- Put beans into a 3 ½ to 4 quart pan and cover with water by 2 inches. Soak these overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse the beans in a colander.
OR QUICK SOAK METHOD:
- Put the beans in a saucepan and add 6 to 8 cups of hot water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, then simmer for one hour. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander.
COOK THE BEANS:
- Fill the same saucepan ⅔ with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- When the water is boiling carefully add the drained beans. The water should be one-inch over the beans. If there is too much, use a heat proof liquid measuring cup to remove the excess.
- Add one quarter of the onion, the garlic, the epazote, and the salt. Do not stir.
- Partially cover the pan and bring back to a simmer. Once the mixture is simmering adjust the heat so it doesn't boil over.
- After about 15 minutes skim any foam that has collected on top of the broth.
- Simmer for a total of 30 to 45 minutes, until the beans are tender and creamy. Do not stir.
- Carefully remove the onion, garlic, and epazote.
- At this point, you can cool the beans and freeze (see Gr8 Do Ahead Notes). Or let them cool and continue with the next part when ready to serve.
FINISH THE BEANS:
- Slice the remaining quarter onion into thin strips, about ¼" wide.
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large frying pan.
- To the hot oil, add the sliced onion and the whole serrano chiles.
- Cook the onion and chile until the onion is nicely browned and the chiles are charred.
- Remove the chile and onion from the pan and set aside. Add about a third of the beans to the pan.
- Using a potato masher (or the back of a wooden spoon) mash the beans and cook. Add a little of the bean water to keep this mash moist. You should have a nice mixture of mashed beans and whole or partially whole beans.
- Continue adding the beans and the juice and mashing until all the beans are combined and mashed. You may not need to use all of the bean broth.
- Slice the charred serrano chile and serve the chile and the onion with the beans, if desired.
Gr8 Notes:Marta uses Goya Canary Beans, available at Latin supermarkets or on Amazon. These beans turn out creamy and delicious with this recipe. Epazote is an herb native to southern Mexico, Central America, and South America. It has many amazing benefits, with the main one being that it is supposed to reduce the bloating and flatulence that often accompany eating beans!
Gr8 Do Ahead Tips:Prepare the beans up through Step 8. Then cool and freeze in freezer safe plastic bags. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and continue with the "Finish the Beans" section. The beans can be frozen for up to 6 months.