Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Frijoles Refritos

Known in English as "refried beans," the name in Spanish actually means "well-fried." Canned refried beans just don't compare to homemade. My personal version makes a few tweaks on the original (olive oil instead of lard, turmeric to aid with digestion, and a LOT of garlic), but at the end it still has that yummy, creamy goodness.

1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained (I had some extra kidney beans and mixed them in)
water, enough to cover the beans by two inches in a large pot
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp olive oil (this helps keep the foam down so you can do other things while the pot simmers)
1/2 head of garlic, minced (I LOVE my garlic press)
2-3 bay leaves

2 medium onions, diced
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp cumin seeds

2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp cayenne (tone it down if you wish)

Bring A to a boil in a large pot. Let it stay at a hard boil until the beans begin to fall apart. This will vary greatly depending on how old your beans are. Mine only took about 20 minutes to get to this step. Turn A down to a brisk simmer and leave for 15-20 minutes. In a separate tall-brim frying pan, sauté B until the onions are translucent.

Turn off heat and add C. You could do this step once the beans are done, but I like to do this early to allow the oil to sit and really absorb the flavors of the cumin seeds. Turn A's heat back up to high and begin stirring and mashing the beans against the bottom and side.

After a few minutes of doing this, your beans should be more mash with some whole beans floating about. Some people try to pulverize every single bean into nothingness, but I'm fine with having some whole beans in there. Turn the B's heat on high. Turn off A's heat. Once everything is sizzling, dump A into B (remember, tall-brim frying pan!) and stir/scrape the sides and bottom.

As the beans fry, they'll get mashed up even more. Add salt to taste and serve over corn tortillas.

Frijoles Refritos with corn tortillas, guacamole, yogurt, and jack cheese


Wes said...

Baby, ya know I love you, but "frijoles refritos" does not mean "well fried." It means refried. Frito is the root which means fried. Fritos is the plural. Same principal as in English, ad the prefix re and it means again. Refried. Actually, even more technically, it means rehash.

Verdant said...

Look Wes, you may be hot stuff when it comes to fashion or whatever, but when it comes to cooking, I'm the slayer ;).

"By the way, Diana Kennedy, an authority on Mexican cooking, has cleared up the mystery of why these are called refried beans, when they are clearly fried only once. In Mexico it is common, she says, to use the prefix "re" for emphasis, so the name frijoles refritos refers to beans that are well fried, not twice fried..."

"The English term "refried," often interpreted as "fried again," is a mistranslation of the Spanish prefix re- as a shortening of the word "sobre," meaning "over." In fact, the beans are fried only once and the term refrito is actually a reference to overfrying the bean paste so that it dries out to retain a shape for serving purposes."

"Oddly enough, refried beans (frijoles refritos) are only fried once. The prefix "re" is a Spanish prefix meaning "very" or "well", inappropriately tacked onto a non-Spanish word."

And finally from the Food Network:

"Refried beans are actually only fried once; the prefix "re" is a colloquial form of emphasis in Mexico. So, technically, refried beans are "well-fried beans."