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Old 11-18-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
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Question Refried Beans from scratch, any suggestions?

I found this recipe, but it seems like something is missing? i have heard of people using bacon fat,but I wasnt sure how much, or at what point in the recipe. Also, how long does bacon fat stay good? I have some, but it has been unrefridgerated for about a month and a half. It seems like it would "go bad" after awhile. Might be a good thread all on it's own??
Also, i will be using pinto beans. Should I soak them before hand, and how long???

Pinto Beans
4 cups water
1 pound dried pinto or black beans (about 2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 slice bacon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seed


Mix water, beans and onion in 4-quart Dutch oven. Cover and heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour. Add just enough water to beans to cover. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2 hours. (Add water during cooking if necessary.) Drain; reserve broth for recipes calling for bean broth. Cover and refrigerate beans and broth separately; use within 10 days.


Refreid Beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard
2 cups cooked Pinto Beans (recipe above)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


Heat lard in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Pinto Beans; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Mash beans; stir in chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add more oil to skillet if necessary; cook and stir until a smooth paste forms, about 5 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese if desired.

Seems like a pretty good recipe, but just too generic. Any suggestions or things I should know before attempting this one???

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Old 11-18-2006, 12:56 PM   #2
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looks very good. Of course you can serve your refrieds with any ssalsa topping or with rice or guacamole etc.
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Old 11-18-2006, 01:30 PM   #3
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To try to answer your questions:

I don't think it is necessary to soak the beans, but would wash and pick through them a bit. Have found some nasty bits in dried beans, including stones.

As far as the bacon fat question, I will hedge a bit here. Fat, even meat fat, will last a long time. Am thinking here of confit of duck or pork. It was a means of preserving meat, unrefrigerated. But usually the confit was stored in a cool place.

Whether your bacon grease is palatable, or even healthy, I have no idea. Can only suggest in the future you keep it in the fridge. Have kept it for many months cold with no ill effects.

Have made refried beans many times, but usually use the canned beans as starters. Am usually too lazy, or impatient, to start with the dried. Have found that adding finely diced onions perks up the the flavor a bit and gives a bit of texture.

And then always add a bit of hot sauce.

Just my take on it.

Enjoy.
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Old 11-18-2006, 05:15 PM   #4
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If you don't mind I'm going to divide your the quote of your post into;
  1. Your questions and comments.
  2. Pinto bean recipe.
  3. Refried bean recipe.
Your questions are good.
The first recipe is confusing because it includes a kind of quick soak with the other ingredients. I don't understand the separation of beans and broth to store and ten days seems like a long time in the fridge. It might work out okay but my advice would be to get used to the normal soaking methods and cooking a simple pot of pintos first. By simple pot I mean; pre-soak 1 cup beans, drain and add two to three cups water, 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer until tender.
The second recipe could be followed but 1/2 cup fat to two cups cooked beans seems like a lot. Of course since the recipe calls for draining the broth and reserving for another use the fat is the only thing that would prevent this turning into such thick paste most wouldn't want to eat it. I would prefer to use a lot less fat letting the beans themselves thicken the broth. The broth, after all, is the reason for starting with dried beans instead of opening a can. Sorry to be so negative about the recipes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba_sybo
I found this recipe, but it seems like something is missing? i have heard of people using bacon fat,but I wasnt sure how much, or at what point in the recipe. Also, how long does bacon fat stay good? I have some, but it has been unrefridgerated for about a month and a half. It seems like it would "go bad" after awhile. Might be a good thread all on it's own??
Also, i will be using pinto beans. Should I soak them before hand, and how long???
...
Seems like a pretty good recipe, but just too generic. Any suggestions or things I should know before attempting this one???
I'm sure the fat has been addressed elsewhere but I'll leave it to someone else to supply the link. I keep strained and filtered bacon fat in the ice box. I'm sorry I don't know when it goes bad because I've never kept it that long.

Clean, sort and rinse the beans. This step is not optional. Without it you will be eating dirt and rocks. The easiest way for me is using a cutting board that has grooves around the outside, and a bench knife. Dump a cup of beans on one end of the board and pull the beans toward you maybe ten at a time with each hand looking for anything that isn’t beans. When the inspected pile gets to be a handful, scoop it up with a bench knife and dump it into a colander for rinsing. This step takes a minute per pound of beans and about half the time I find dirt clods or small rocks.

Soaking is optional. There is a quick soak and an overnight soak. The instructions are usually on the back of bag. Use at least 3 parts water to 1 part beans. Quick soak is boil for two minutes, soak off heat for one hour, drain. Overnight is 8 hours or so, give or take two hours or so. Drain after soaking. They’re soaked when you can break one in half. If you don’t soak the cooking time will be a little longer. Some say soaking reduces gas; I don’t claim to know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba_sybo
Pinto Beans
4 cups water
1 pound dried pinto or black beans (about 2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 slice bacon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seed

Mix water, beans and onion in 4-quart Dutch oven. Cover and heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour. Add just enough water to beans to cover. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2 hours. (Add water during cooking if necessary.) Drain; reserve broth for recipes calling for bean broth. Cover and refrigerate beans and broth separately; use within 10 days.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba_sybo
Refreid Beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard
2 cups cooked Pinto Beans (recipe above)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat lard in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Pinto Beans; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Mash beans; stir in chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add more oil to skillet if necessary; cook and stir until a smooth paste forms, about 5 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese if desired.
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:06 PM   #5
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Since you're putting bacon in it anyway, I'd reserve the bacon fat and use it as the lard (if you're like me, lard dosen't get used often enough to buy a pound of it; and to me vegetable oil lacks in flavor). Hubby and I are both fans of spice (and grew up partially in the southwest), and I'd probably use more cumin and chili powder (which can be unpredictable, heat-wise), to taste. But it all looks good. I prefer pintos for this process to black beans. Probably because I didn't know black beans existed until I was 30 or so!
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:25 PM   #6
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Bacteria needs water to grow and survive. Since bacon fat is 100% fat and no water, bacteria is unable to grow in fat. That's why you can store fats at room temperature for extended periods of time.

Fats will eventually turn rancid - try tasting the bacon fat before using it and if it doesn't taste "off" then it should be fine to use.
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Old 11-23-2006, 12:40 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I made it through the first part of the recipie, and my Pinto beans turned out pretty tasy. So good in fact i wasn't allowed to proceed with phase 2.
I made a corned beef the night before, and was making sandwiches. I had a few small chunks of meat and one huge chunk of fat so I threw it in the pot with the beans while they were simmering. I removed the fat wich had cooked down by about half before serving. After initial tasting I let it cool and almost all the broth was soaked up. The beans were very flavorful,much more than before they drank up almost all my broth.

I still plan on making the refried beans I just wonder if is best to let them sit in the broth and soak up all that flavor first. Seems like it would be better, since it just seems to add more flavor, but oculd this creat problems with phase 2??
Also any more secrets I should know as far as phase 2???
I was going to just make them, and burrito type fixin's, or maybe even fahita stuff for a Taco night type thing. Alot of work for a sice dish, or one ingredients on a taco/burrito, but i heard the home made ones were sooooo good.
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Old 11-24-2006, 07:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba_sybo
I found this recipe, but it seems like something is missing?
Refried beans are really simple peasant food ... you make a pot of beans, mash them up and cook a second time with some fat (refry) to add flavor and if too thick you can thin them out with the "bean juice" (the bean broth). This isn't haute cuisine! The recipe you have is just fine. As a Tex-Mex side dish - just add a pat of butter and garnish with some grated cheese (diced onion optional). But, I can see where it might be more "exotic" in Michigan than it is here in Texas where it's just everyday food.

Fajitas and Tacos generally don't (like in I've never seen them - but it doesn't mean Bobby Flay hasn't done it) have beans in them .... although refried beans may be servered as a side dish when served as part of a meal.

Now, burritos ... that is something else. I mix refried beans and leftover chili to make a "glop" and spread on steamed flour tortillas ... with diced onion and grated cheese.

If you want to let your beans sit in the liquid they cooked in overnight ... do it. It will not affect the "Phase 2" process.
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Old 11-25-2006, 06:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Refried beans are really simple peasant food ... you make a pot of beans, mash them up and cook a second time with some fat (refry) to add flavor and if too thick you can thin them out with the "bean juice" (the bean broth). This isn't haute cuisine!
Michael, I gotta tell you, your post made me mad. I resolved not to respond until I had a chance to calm down.
Quote:
The recipe you have is just fine. As a Tex-Mex side dish - just add a pat of butter and garnish with some grated cheese (diced onion optional). But, I can see where it might be more "exotic" in Michigan than it is here in Texas where it's just everyday food.
Quote:
"The recipe you have is just fine."
Do you really think that 1/2 cup of lard to two cups drained beans is just fine?
Do you think that storing beans drained, even overnight, wouldn't dry them out compared to storing them in the liquid in which they were simmered?
This post was much longer until I deleted the parts that might have gotten me kicked out of the forum.
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Old 11-29-2006, 01:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Michael, I gotta tell you, your post made me mad. I resolved not to respond until I had a chance to calm down. ... This post was much longer until I deleted the parts that might have gotten me kicked out of the forum.
Please feel to send me a PM and tell me what I said that offended you - and you can use any words you wish to express yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Do you really think that 1/2 cup of lard to two cups drained beans is just fine?
Within the context of the peasant origins of this dish in Mexico and Central America, or to try to reproduce the original flavor and authenticity - yes.

Remember - these people didn't have Big Mac's and Super Sized fries, nor did they generally have meat 3 meals a day ... sometimes not even for weeks. And, they were hard working and burned up a lot of calories doing manual agricultural labor ... a meal of 12 corn tortillas and 1/2 of this refried bean recipe would only supply about 1425 calories ... and they may have easily needed 3500 or more.

Now, if you mean is there a healthier way to make this dish ... yes. But, there is more than one way to make frijoles refritos (literally: beans well fried - it's a linguistic thing ... re is a prefix meaning well).

If I remember right - Rick Bayless only used 1/4 cup lard for 6-7 cups of beans to make it healthier - but noted that in Mexico they used much more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Do you think that storing beans drained, even overnight, wouldn't dry them out compared to storing them in the liquid in which they were simmered?
Yes - storing the beans overnight drained will dry them out a little. But, part of the process of frying the beans is to dry them out even more (remove water) - and then you add back some liquid to get the consistency that you want in the end.

Did you every try to make fried rice from freshly made rice? Then, when you tried again with rice that had been refrigerated overnight you got what you were trying to make the first time instead of a big gummy glop of goo? Refrigerating the beans overnight serves the same purpose - it allows the starch to recrystallize - so when fried the next day the texture is a little different.

I have seen recipes for the beans that go both ways - actually, three ways - and three or more different cooking methods.

What I didn't say originally (but maybe I should have):

1) I would not store beans or juice (seperate or together) for 10 days in the refrigerator. They tend to begin to "sour" after about 5 days ... and then by the time you get to day 10 they have started to grow mold (sometimes by day 6 or 7). But, they freeze well.

2) I see no need for the 1/4 cup vegetable oil in the original cooking of the beans. The bacon will add flavor (use 2 strips- minced or chopped fine) - vegetable oil will just add flavorless fat and calories. And, I also would not add salt at that stage - it retards the cooking process.

Let me know what I left out in this addendum, skilletlicker.
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