Sunday, July 24, 2011

Refried Beans- Tips

I have made these refried beans a ton of times now, and thought I'd add some of the things I have noticed from cooking them.
  • I never measure the seasonings. I measure the beans & water (1 1/2 cups and 4 1/2 cups), then just start tossing things in- onion, garlic, some type of green chiles or pepper, and seasonings. Then I just season it to taste after mashing.
  • Speaking of onions & peppers- one thing I've done is save my leftover onion and/or pepper from a Mexican restaurant, toss it in the freezer, then add it to the crock pot when I make beans. Or, if you only use say half of your onion or pepper- just stick the rest in a ziploc bag & freeze it until you need it again. The texture changes a little, but that doesn't matter in this recipe.
  • The beans really firm up after you mash them. That doesn't affect anything if you're eating them right away, but especially if you refrigerate them for later, you will need to add more liquid to get it the right consistency. Sometimes I save some of the cooking liquid (in a separate small container) and add that in when I reheat it, or sometimes I add water- I haven't noticed a difference between the two. Just something to be aware of.
  • A tip my mom found when making these- when the beans have reached the right doneness in the crock pot, remove them. Don't turn off the crock pot and leave the beans & liquid sitting there until you're ready, otherwise they'll absorb too much liquid and be too mushy. (Leaving it in there for a little bit is fine, but not for something like an hour.)
  • Last tip- in addition to refrigerating these beans for later, you can also freeze them. I tried that this weekend for the first time. I froze about one cup of beans in a container (it was a freezable glass container). Then I took it out one morning, thawed it a little on the counter, and at lunch time I heated it in the microwave (I did 70% for 1 or 1 1/2 minutes). Then I stirred it, and made burritos with them. It tasted exactly like it did when I first made it! I am definitely going to do this more often. This week I'm planning to make a whole batch just to freeze.
I hope that helps, or encourages you to make these beans for the first time! :) They're great!

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