Cooking with EL CHAVO!

How to make Frijoles Refritos

(otherwise known as refried beans)

In our last foray into the kitchen, we had finished up making a fine pot of Frijoles de la Olla, and unless you're an incredibly gluttonous pig, you should still have an ample amount of beans left over. If you did eat them all, be kind to your friends and make sure to stay away for a few days. For the rest of you, here's another basic recipe that you can use, as you'll not be wanting to eat them the same way. Fresh beans are delicious but if you warm them up the next day after refrigeration, you will be disappointed: the magic only lasts so long. Why do you think Mexicans came up with refried beans?

Contrary to their name, they do not have to be fried twice, and really, they don't even have to be "fried" the first time, you just need a little oil for the cooking. So here's how I make them:

First and foremost, put your frying pan (be it a non-stick, cast iron, or some converted menudo tin-can) on high to heat up, whatever you use to fry up your vittles, make sure you get it hot! This is a step that lots of people overlook and it's important for all kinds of frying. Heat your pan pretty damn hot BEFORE you add your oil, otherwise the oil will not heat up properly and will behave differently. You can put your hand over the pan to see if it feels hot enough. Don't put it ON the pan, stupid! Over! Esta gente.. Anyways, now that it's hot add some corn oil, just a little drizzle, maybe about 2 tablespoons. Canola oil works also and even margarine makes some good tasting refritos, but for fuck's sake, don't use olive oil! I've seen recipes that mention olive oil and that's just dead wrong. Save it for salads or even salsas, but not for beans, por fa?

It's a bad pic but it kinda shows how much oil I used, barely enough to cover the bottom. If you want more or less, go for it, you're the one that has to eat it! Roasted onions y tomatoes for salsa and a filling for veggie tacos make a cameo apperance in this pic, but that's for another time.


Once the oil starts to slightly smoke, you are good to go! Spoon in the beans from the pot. Careful, it's gonna splatter, so add them quick and it'll stop; or use a splatter screen. Keep it on high til they reach a boil, then you can turn it down to medium. See how I'm using a regular spoon and not a slotted one? That's because you want some of the liquid from the pot, people that say to strain the beans beforehand are nuts, no wonder they use so much oil. No liquid = dry beans = not too great. Just enough to barely cover them will do.

Let them cook this way for about 5 minutes, if they are hot the mashing will be easier. It's a good idea to taste them to see if they have enough salt, add if needed. Now place the pan on the floor and stomp on the beans with a clean chancla, or if you prefer, get a masher from the store and just use that; it's all the same to me, it's your floor! When I have company over, I use the hand masher..

..and I slowly smush the little frijoles to their death! Just enough to mostly break them down is good, but I like to leave some kinda whole, mostly so they can recount their stories of the great frijolicide to the next generation.  I'm all about the compassion.

Soon enough, some of the liquid evaporates, and they are ready to eat. These are slightly overcooked, as I was fooling around with a camera and forgot to turn them off, but it's not too bad. You can add more liquid if they get too dry, shoot for having them a bit more liquidy as they will naturally clump when they cool down.  Some people like to add garlic, I don't. But hey, you can even add chocolate syrup for all I care, it's your food! Another way to prepare them is to skip the mashing process and add the Tri-color of onion, tomato, and cilantro. And even another method is to dip a tortilla into the beans and let it heat up; do it for a few and put them on a plate, that's known as an enfrijolada, kinda like a bean pancake.

Here's a pic of how I might eat them, with a quesadilla on the side.  A bit of queso cotija on top would have really made this picture perfect!  If you can't figure out how else to eat them, well, that's just sad.
Pobre de ti!  EL CHAVO!

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