Friday, November 21, 2008

Beans so nice we fried 'em twice.

Looking for something cheap and delicious? Me too. Here's a good one - last night I made refried beans starting from a bag of dried beans. (.59 cents at Aldi) Very easy, economical and tasty.

Just a warning from experience - I always make too much. Just remember that your beans are going to more than double in size by the time you're done. This holds for just about any dried bean I've used with the possible exception of lentils.

The only tricky part of making this dish is that unless you have a pressure cooker (I don't) you have to soak the beans overnight in a bowl with plenty of water. Then you boil them with salt and some fat for half an hour, or until they're tender to the tooth. As far as which fat to use, I saw recipes calling from vegetable oil to lard and different things in between. I halved the difference and went with vegetable shortening, but I think plain old vegetable oil would work fine, and bacon fat would just be incredible.

When they've boiled up and are nice and tender, you're going to have to gauge if you have enough water. Are the beans covered? Just covered, or is there a couple of inches of water over them? Mine were just covered, and that seemed to work out pretty well. Hit them with the immersion blender. I guess you could use a regular blender, but ugh -no, you really need an immersion blender. If they're too soupy at that point you can always cook them down for a few minutes.

For spices; garlic, chili powder and cumin.

I served it up with a Spanish fried rice, simple pico de gallo and tortillas.

Just ate the leftovers for lunch, and it held up really well. This feeds a family for a couple of bucks and tastes great.

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