Confession: In my long life of 35 years, I’ve been guilty of dipping a spoon into many a jar to snag a taste of something I’m craving. Nutella. Homemade applesauce. Creme fraiche. Peanut butter. Strawberry jam. Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. Just to name a few.
But never, and I repeat never, have I ever in a million years double dipped a spoon into a jar/can of refried beans for a solo taste. I mean, have you? Gross. To be perfectly honest refried-beans-in-a-can have always kind of icked me out big time.
All that changed, though, after I made my very own homemade refried beans.
I kid you not, I could not stop eating these. As in, compulsive dipping my spoon into the nutella jar type of not-stop-eating-these. And I realized after I finally made refried beans by my little old self that the stuff called “refried beans” in a can? It’s not refried beans. It cannot be refried beans! Because it tastes nothing like these delicious, amazing real, live refried beans you see before you.
I can never go back. Homemade refried beans forever! Don’t freak out about another thing to DIY. I promise, they are so super simple, they almost make themselves. You can thank your slow cooker. I’ve been making these (a fat-free version, even though I’m sure the version loaded with bacon grease is pretty much divine, too) for a while now – freezing 1-2 cup portions flattened out in freezer ziploc bags. Talk about an easy weeknight meal; pulling out some RB (that’s refried beans for short), defrosting quick-like in the microwave and making the best bean and cheese tortilla-burrito-quesadilla-thingies you’ve ever had. Plus, I feel like a rockstar being able to use up the 97 pounds of dry pinto beans I have sitting underneath my kids’ bunk beds.
This recipe can easily be doubled (but be sure to use a large oval slow cooker because the ingredients won't fit in a 5-quart round slow cooker). After the beans have been pureed and then cooled, I spoon a cup or so into freezer ziploc bags, flatten out the bags, remove as much air as possible, seal and freeze. The jalapeno doesn't make the beans spicy - just adds great flavor. Also, you could eliminate the 1st step of cooking the beans in water for 15 minutes if you plan ahead and soak the beans overnight in cold water, covering by 1-2 inches. Drain the beans and proceed with step 2.
- 1 pound dry pinto beans, rinsed, remove any stones or shriveled beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or same amount of liquid from a jar of jalapenos or banana peppers
- Salt to taste
- Place the rinsed beans in a medium or large saucepan and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring the beans and water to a boil and cover, cooking for 15 minutes (be aware that the beans will expand as they absorb water and cook so make sure your pan isn't overly full to begin with or else you'll have an overflow problem - safest to start with a larger pot).
- Remove from the heat and drain the beans. Place the beans in the slow cooker insert and cover them with about 2 inches of water. Add the salt, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours. I haven't tried it but you could experiment by cooking on low for 8-10 hours.
- When the beans are tender, ladle out about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Drain the beans and veggies in a colander until most of the liquid is gone but there are still a few drips (you don't want the beans bone dry).
- Place the beans and veggies and 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or 1 tablespoon liquid from a jar of jalapenos) in a food processor or blender (you may need to do this in batches - if so, only use half the amount of vinegar each time if splitting the beans in two batches).
- Depending on how well you drained the beans, add about 1/4 cup liquid (more if needed) and process until the desired texture is reached - I like mine mostly smooth with a little bit of beans for texture. Add more liquid if needed. I have found I don't need to add a whole lot of reserved liquid if I've lightly drained the beans and they are still wet. Most importantly, taste the beans and add additional salt, if needed!
- I let the refried beans cool and then spoon them in 1-2 cup amounts into freezer ziploc bags, press them flat, remove as much air as possible and seal.