Made the right way. My way.
This is like the longest way possible to make refried beans. Even if I wanted to I could not make it longer. I can post some short cuts, but just FYI, my way is also the cheapest way.
Pro Tip: DO NOT ADD SALT. DO NOT ADD IT TO THE COOKING WATER. DO NOT ADD IT TO THE SOAKING WATER. DO. NOT. ADD. SALT. It keeps the beans from cooking fully. So you will end up cooking and cooking beans that never seem to soften up. Don’t add salt. Until the end. THEN add salt.
2 C dry Pinto or Black beans (black beans make really good refried beans)
8 C water
Place beans on the counter, and sort through to remove any grit or ugly or malformed beans. Rinse beans. Soak beans overnight. Discard water and rinse beans again.
Place soaked beans in large stock pot with 8 more cups of water and simmer on low for 90 minutes. Check beans to see if they are soft and no longer have any grittiness to them. The easiest way to do this is to pull a bean or two out, run under cool water and then eat it. Beans should feel nice and creamy and mash, but they should still be shaped like beans when you pull them out of the water. Over cooking them makes the beans fall apart and then turn to mush. Undercooking them leaves the beans a little crunchy, and you don’t want that.
Now that your beans are cooked, we will now Re- cook them in oil. This is the Re-fried part. Which really makes no sense because they are only fried once but whatever.
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (or EVOO) or your favorite oil. I use EVOO
1 small minced onion. *Minced means chopped super finely (or use 3 Tbsp dried onions)
1 heaping Tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 Tsp of your favorite dried red Chile Powder
1 Tsp dried ground Cumin
1ish Tsp salt
Pepper to taste
First, take the oil and place it in a large Dutch oven or Cast Iron Skillet over medium high heat. I do this weird thing where I put a sliver of onion in with the oil. When the onion starts sizzling violently, it’s hot enough. Throw your onion in and let it turn translucent. (If you are using dried onion, throw it in WITH the garlic). When your onion starts to be clear, toss in the garlic. Let these two things start to turn golden. We don’t want caramelized onions, just cooked. The garlic will cook and burn quickly, so after you add it, watch it carefully. Burnt garlic is gross. When you are satisfied with your onion/garlic mixture, take a large ladle and reach into the pot of beans and start ladling the beans into the Skillet. After two ladles full of beans AND cooking liquid, begin to mash the beans. When they are fully mashed and begin to sizzle around the edges, add two more ladles full of beans. You want enough beans where it would be a decent soup. Water should fully cover beans by about an inch each time you scoop them out. Keep adding beans and liquid and mashing until they are all mashed.
After mashing, the beans should have a VERY soupy consistency. (If you have a thick mash, you didn’t add enough liquid.) No prob. Just ladle more bean liquid into the skillet and stir it up until you have a nice sludge the consistency of a gruel. Now, stir in the rest of the spices and taste to make sure there is enough salt and pepper. Leave on warm and continue to stir and mash until beans cook down to a thicker gruel consistency. They will continue to thicken as they cool. When they are still warm (serving temperature), they should have a nice oatmeal-like consistency. If they thicken too much, add a 1/4 water and re-warm. If they are too thin, continue to cook on low heat until desired thickness.
Serve alongside all your Mexican dishes or use on your pre-made GRINGO tortillas for all you whiteys, top with cheese and toast for some killer Quesadillas. Please, don’t use cheddar cheese. At least attempt to respect these beans enough to use Jack cheese or a Mexican cheese blend. It’s still gringo but we will give you points for effort.
Shortcut: Use 4 cans of black or pinto beans to replace cooked beans. Do not drain beans. You will need to add more water to the beans to mash them up to the right consistency. Add to hot oil and spices as above. The won’t taste as good as the long method, but they are way better than those things that are labeled “refried beans” where they add a bean mash slurry (instead of water) to whole beans and call it “refried”.