Not Quite Refried Beans

There is this little hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place (“place” because it’s not quite a restaurant, not quite a taco stand) here in Culver City called Cinco de Mayo that my hubby and frequented quite a bit in our younger, more metabolism-friendly days. It’s right next door to another, much more famous Mexican food place called Tito’s Tacos. The line at Tito’s is always a mile long. The line at Cinco doesn’t get that long until Tito’s closes (Cinco is 24 hours). They are both very, very delicious (isn’t that usually the case with hole-in-the-wall places? As long as there’s a A in the window, I’m good).

So anyway, we still will go every so often, but these days, I try to make my Mexican food at home since it isn’t exactly the healthiest choice going to one of these restaurants.  It’s sometimes a challenge to “lighten” up Mexican dishes, but I think I’ve done a good job for the most part. Everything in moderation, right? These beans are perfectly lightened up. They are just as good as the “real thing” but there is no added fat. Its just beans and seasoning. A great, healthy carb source chock full of protein.
I don’t know how long I’ve been making these beans, but I make them a lot. Refried beans, traditionally, are not very good for you and are full of lard (the good ones anyway!). These have no added fat at all. They are not really refried, but they taste just like them and the texture is almost spot on.  They are perfect for bowls and burritos, nachos and tacos, I’ve even put them in enchiladas.  And the best part? They are made in the slow cooker! Set it and forget it, my friend. Couldn’t be easier.
The recipe amounts tend to change each time I make these, so I tried to write this down exactly as I did it this time. Hopefully that helps. I have posted these before and the amounts may be a little different, but the process and the end result are the same, so don’t call me out on it. Please?
2-1/2 cups of dried pinto beans
1/2 a diced onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt, to start
1 tsp pepper, to start
1 tsp cumin, to start
8 cups of water (started with 6, added a couple more later in the cooking)
In a slow cooker, add your beans, onion, garlic, and seasonings. Top with water. It will look like a lot, but trust me, you need it.  The beans will soak it all up and it is better to have too much, that you can drain out, than not enough, which will cause the beans to become dry and burn.
Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 8-10 hours. Mine went 10-1/2 because that’s when I got home and they were perfect.

  When the beans are ready, turn off the slow cooker and drain most of the water out. Save this in case you need to add more for texture.

Mash the beans. You can use a potato masher, which works well. If you have an immersion blender, use that. If you don’t have one, get one because they are amazing kitchen tools. I love mine!

If your beans seem dry, add a bit more of the cooking water. Make them the texture you like.
At this point, I also do a tasting. They may be pretty bland still, because I don’t add too much seasoning at the beginning. Taste them and see what you need to add. I almost always add more salt and cumin, sometimes a little garlic powder. You do what you like. Be careful not to make them too salty though. You will ruin the whole batch. Don’t ask me how I know that. That’s why I just add a little at a time.
We put these in a sealed bowl in the fridge and eat them throughout the week.

One thought on “Not Quite Refried Beans

  1. Pingback: Mexican Lasagna  | Food on the Table

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