Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Refried Black Beans

There is a tiny Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant around the corner for our apartment called El Rinconcito Cafe. This is our favorite go-to for hangover beating breakfasts and incredibly delicious, authentic Salvadorian and Mexican cuisine. Their pupusas are pretty much my favorite food in DC. Yum, yum, yum. They serve their meals with the traditional side of flavored yellow rice and beans. Their beans are black beans and they are not just regular stewed black beans. They are creamy and blended. They almost remind me a refried black beans. When I made the Ropa Vieja, I wanted to serve it with a delicious side dish that would be easy to make and a slight variation on the classic refried beans. They are inspired by my favorite little cafe and they turned out so well that I think I will make them over and over again. They can be eaten as a side dish or I bet this would make a sensational dip with some chips. Also, I usually have all of the ingredients for this at my house, so I can make it any time.

Refried Black Beans (serves 4 as a side dish)
1 can black beans
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup beer
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
sprinkle red pepper flakes

I know, I know. Canned beans?!?! Of course and I am shame-free about it! The beans are being cooked twice and blended. Of course buying dried beans and rehydrating them yourself would be super delicous too, but for this recipe, a can is preferable and more sane.
1. Finely chop the onion and garlic cloves.
2. In a non-stick skillet (mine is a smaller 8-inch skillet, but any will work), heat 1 tsp. vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, draining and rinsed beans, cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Allow them to goo together for 4-5 minutes.
3. Add 1/4 cup of beer and drink the rest.
4. Allow this mixture to bubble, covered on low heat for 20 minutes until everything is thoroughly cooked and the beans are very tender.
5. Turn off the heat and allow them to cool enough to pour everything in a blender or food processor. I have a magic bullet so I used that. You aren't going for baby food smooth here. Just a few pulses so that the mixture becomes slightly creamy, but still has some texture. You can add another Tbs. or so of beer to get it to pulse if your mixture is too thick. Taste the mixture for seasoning. If it needs more salt, add it at this stage.
6. Heat another Tbs. of vegetable oil in the same non-stick skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour the creamy bean mixture into the skillet. Turn down the heat to low and allow to "refry" for 5-10 minutes until they are nice and thick. You will need to keep and eye on they and move them around with a spatula so that the bottom doesn't burn.
Transfer to a bowl and serve with your favorite south-of-the-border dinner.
This isn't really a beauty-queen contestant on looks. I like to put a little piece of cilantro on top to dress it up a little. The taste will speak for itself!


  1. ewww beans!! i don't like beans but i do like the chef :)

  2. But they are so good for your heart, sister!