A good friend of mine used to make, hands down, the very best taco dinners. And a big part of what made them so good was her refried beans. They were absolutely the best. Ever. She probably still does, but she up and moved half way across the country…. She used dried pinto beans and a pressure cooker. Then she would put all these little containers of beans, in the freezer to pull out as needed. Needed as in when we invited ourselves over for dinner, which was often. I didn’t own, nor have I ever even cooked with, a pressure cooker so I was always jealous of her “stash”.
I’m always looking for easy ways to cut out the processed foods and this is easy. And cheap. And much like the difference between store-bought and homegrown tomatoes…homemade refried beans are light-years beyond the canned stuff! And talk about convenient. Just like having a can of refrieds in the pantry, you can have containers, of these, in the freezer, portioned up in the size perfect for your family!
Slow Cooker Refried Beans
a compilation of many recipes
- 1 onion, peeled and halved, don’t get fancy and cut it up any more.
- 1 # dry pinto beans, rinsed
- ½ fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- One big pinch of cumin and I mean BIG
- 6 cups water
- Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the onion chunks.
- Scoop the beans, out of the liquid, into a flat-bottomed pan. Save the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher. Add back in as much of the juices as you need to get the consistency you prefer. Remember these are the juices these beans cooked in all day. It is tasty, pure flavor. For us, I used almost all the liquid, but I suppose it depends on how much heat you get from your slow cooker or even how dried (older are drier) your beans are.
- Now separate it into portion sizes, cool, and pop in to the freezer, thaw and heat as needed. For the two of us 1# of dried beans makes 3 12oz portions.
- For them to truly be considered refried you’ll need to scoop up some of your bacon fat, that I know you store in the refrigerator, and fry your beans as you mash them. But we are looking for healthy. That’s not to say I won’t still stir in a TBS or so of said bacon fat 😉 I just won’t fry them in it. We’re talking healthy. Remember?!!