Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Home-Style Refried Beans - Viva Vegan

If you're as big a Mexican food fan as I am, you've probably spiced up a can or two of refried beans in your lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, in a pinch, a good can o'refried beans makes one mean burrito, BUT taking the time to make, season, simmer and mash them from scratch really, REALLY makes a difference.  My all-purpose, standby recipe for giving some kick to canned pintos can be found here.  But I'm a sucker for trying new recipes...

Home-Style Refried Beans
Not very photogenic, but delicious indeed...

Enter VIVA VEGAN by Terry Hope Romero.  Perhaps, one of my most greatly anticipated cookbooks.  I am proud to say this was the first book that I purchased in E-Book form for my NOOK Color.

But, before I was able to actually buy Viva Vegan, I found the recipe for the coveted refried beans here online.

Home-Style Refried Beans
2 tbsp corn, peanut or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1 to 2 jalapeno or Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground chili powder such as ancho or a blend
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto, black or pink beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 - 4 cups cooked beans
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
Salt and fresh pepper

1. In a large heave cast-iron skilled, combine the oil and garlic and cook over medium heat. Allow the garlic to sizzle for 30 seconds, then add the onion and jalapeno. Using a wooden spoon to stir occasionally, fry until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, and chili powder, and fry for another 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the beans, bay leaf, and water, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium again and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until more than half the liquid has been absorbed, but about an inch of liquid remains.

3. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Use a potato masher to mash the beans smooth, then stir to form a thick, moist paste, anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. If refried beans appear to dry out, add a little water a few tablespoons at a time, until your desired consistency is reached.

I really like the authenticity of this recipe, and I REALLY like how fresh the beans taste.  Like, you can really taste the bean itself, as well as all the yummy onion, garlic and chili.  (hooray for chili, and please use the full two (2) that Terry's recipe calls for, don't be shy)!

The first time I made this recipe, I was fortunate enough to have JUST soaked and simmered a luscious pot of pinto beans from scratch:

No-Soak Pinto Beans (simmered with fresh herbs and spices)

In here, we have a pound of soaked beans, covered with fresh water 1-2 inches above the tops of the beans.  I then added to that, a white onion, halved, a bay leaf, 1 tsp each of whole cumin and coriander seeds, and finally, sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano, courtesy of the Farmer's Market.  Bring liquid to a boil, partially cover and reduce heat and then simmer beans for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until tender.  If any foam develops, skim surface as needed.

Once your delicious pot of beans is cooks, use Terry's recipe to spice them up, simmer, and MASH!  Use for burritos, nachos, tostadas or just serve warm over rice.