Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Refried" Beans

“Beans are highly nutritious and satisfying, they can also be delicious if and when properly prepared, and they posses over all vegetables the great advantage of being just as good, if not better, when kept waiting, an advantage in the case of people whose disposition or occupation makes it difficult for them to be punctual at mealtime.” - Andre Simon, "The Concise Encyclopedia of Gastronomy"

I use beans a lot. This is partly because I really don't eat much meat (something I'll go into more as time passes) and partly because beans are a great, inexpensive, extender for meat meals (like tacos or various meat casseroles).

But, I hate how expensive refried beans are to buy. Additionally, one of my reasons for trying to make foods myself is to know what is in what I eat.

So, I started with dried beans. For now, I'm using what I have on hand:

But I'm going to look into finding dried beans as locally as possible or maybe even try growing them myself once this runs out.

First, soaking beans before cooking helps eliminate some of the starches that cause gas. So, optimally, you should put your beans in a pot of cool water and soak overnight, drain, then cook. However, if you're like me and forget to think ahead, put your beans in a pot of water, bring to a boil and then set aside for a couple of hours instead. Next, drain them and add whatever liquid you want to cook them in. You can use water or broth (I prefer broth).

This time, I used chicken broth, because I had it on hand (I'd just boiled chickens for the dog's food).

You can also add onions for flavor while they cook as well, but my DH doesn't like onions, so I make them without (and then add them to my own food later). Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to simmer and let them cook a few hours until they are VERY soft (softer than you'd make them if you were just eating them as is).

I don't have a food processor (I KNOW.. it's shocking... and it's on my shopping list), so I smash the beans by hand. I do not refry them because I don't like the added fat, and because I really don't find that much of a difference in texture or flavor.

Put the beans in with very little liquid, and then add juice as needed to make the right consistency.

Slap your DD's hand when she steals a ladleful of beans to eat for lunch (okay... not really, and I actually had taken a picture, but it didn't turn out -- I love that my DD likes to eat beans. They are terrifically good for her!).

Put smashed beans into 1 cup (these are approximately that size... I use whatever little containers I have on hand) containers. Freeze.

I would have had about three more containers, but DD really, really liked the beans, and pulled more out to eat later! *G*

At some point, I plan on canning the beans in small half-pint jars instead of freezing, but I think that requires pressure canning, and that's a lot of work for only a few cups of beans. I'll probably do it when I pressure can my cream of mushroom soup.

Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. If only I liked refried beans, but the recipe looks simple.