As much as I love to cook, when summertime rolls around, I find myself spending less and less time in the kitchen. Summer is so short here in Wyoming, that I feel the need to soak up every.single.day of nice weather that I can!
I generally turn to very, very simple meals during the summer months. We eat a lot of tacos and nachos, and I’ve found that incorporating beans into these meals helps to stretch our grassfed beef even further.
I love making refried beans from scratch. They are incredibly frugal, taste infinitely better than the canned version, and if you start with previously cooked beans, they are quick and easy for those evenings when I’d rather be outside than in my kitchen!
This refried bean recipe makes decent sized batch, but even with my small family, we never have trouble using them up. They are wonderful as leftovers, and can also be frozen for future use.
Homemade Refried Beans
- 4 cups cooked pinto beans (remember to add some sort of acid, like lemon juice, to your soaking process to help make them more digestible!)
- 4 T. butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 t. cumin
- 2 t. paprika
- 2 t. sea salt
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1 t. black pepper
- Milk, as needed (water or bean broth can be used if your family is dairy-free. However, I prefer the richness that the milk adds.)
In a large saucepan or pot, saute the onions and garlic in the butter until they are soft and tender.
Add the beans. If your beans are completely dry, you may need to add some liquid (milk or water) at this point. I generally leave some of the cooking broth in with my beans when I freeze them, etc, so I usually have plenty of liquid to get me started.
Add all the seasonings and spices. Mix well.
Bring to a slow simmer and allow everything to cook on a low heat for 10-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning and sticking. This simmering period allows all of the flavors to “meet” each other.
At this point, you will need to decide what consistency you are looking for in your beans. If you like a smoother, runnier texture, slowly add some milk (or water), mixing as you go. I don’t have any exact measurements for this part of the process, since it really depends on your preferences!
Once the beans have cooked down sufficiently and aren’t too thick or runny, mash them with a potato masher, fork, food processor, or hand blender. I like to leave some chunks to avoid a total “baby food” consistency.
Serve with tacos, burritos, nachos, or as a dip!
(Note: this recipe is a little more on the “flavorful” side. I wouldn’t exactly call it spicey, but if you have delicate tastebuds in your family, try starting with a lesser amount of spices at the beginning. You can always add more if need be!)
A flavorful, real food meal, minus the hot kitchen!
What is your favorite way to eat refried beans?