Here it is; my second recipe in the ‘Frugal does Mexican’ series, the name by which it is henceforth to be known. This recipe was a request made by Sarah C., the girlfriend of Katherine’s older brother, Tom. Sarah and Tom were the two who coerced us into visiting Wahaca in the first place, though I’m glad they did so. As I have already mentioned in my previous recipe for guacamole, the food at Wahaca was of a most agreeable quality indeed and their refried beans weren’t to be faulted. Though, I have since learnt that their claim that refried beans are cooked twice for flavour is a little erroneous. You see, as I understand it, ‘refried’ is a mistranslation of ‘refritos’ which simply means well-cooked. Indeed, one needn’t fry them at all, for something similar can be produced by baking. Tex-mex cuisine ought really to see a doctor regarding its misnomers.
Isn’t research such a beautiful thing? Before this post I was under the impression that refried beans were cooked twice and contained black beans. However, it appears that I was wrong on both counts (shock did ensue). The first has already been done away with and the second is only a partial truth; refried beans are traditionally composed of pinto beans. Gladly, the second consideration accounts rather well for the fact that this version of the Mexican classic is a little lighter in colour than others I have tried.
Sarah’s request has but one condition; that the refried beans should be very smooth. Indeed, most recipes seem to call for such a characteristic to be achieved. Luckily mashed beans, when mixed with water or stock, tend to lean towards the smooth side of the gastronomic spectrum. As such, this particular version is most certainly a wondrous experience for one’s mouth. I’m sure you’ll enjoy eating them just as much as we did – they were a joy.
N.B. I hope you’ve all noticed that frugalfeeding has now become a ‘.com’ website. It really was about time that we banished the dreaded ‘.wordpress’ suffix and forged ahead in a slightly more lonely manner. Besides, it does look an awful lot more professional.
• 150g pinto beans, dried
• Plenty of water
• ½ one small onion
• A little reserved ‘bean juice’, or stock
1. Soak the beans in water overnight. Pop them in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 10 minutes and then simmer for 30-40, until tender.
2. Mash the beans until relatively smooth. Heat some oil in a frying pan or skillet, fry the onion for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the mashed beans and season. Pour in some reserved ‘bean juice’ or vegetable/chicken stock, keep adding until they have the viscosity of thick double cream. Serve as a dip or in tortillas.
Cost: Let’s not beat around the proverbial bush. Dried beans are cheap and they make up roughly 95% of this dish, though I’ve not done any specific maths to back up such a claim. In all, these erroneous beans should set one back no more than about 30p.