It was clear some recipes HAD to go to stay on my page maximum even though they were delicious ones that my family enjoys all the time. In laying out the “Hors d’ouvres” chapter I had a few sore thumbs sticking out… they didn’t go with the flow. One of those was “Beans and Beer” or more simply put; The Best Refried Bean Recipe Ever.
So no more Ortega-dog-food looking beans for you. Do you promise? Do you promise you will never open a can and nudge that goop out again and call it “Mexican food”… let alone “good food”?
Come on. You know it looks like dog food.
A mon amis good Mexican food is about flavour and for me those flavours must include salt, lime, cilantro and… cerveza!
Years ago we had great Mexican friends (with whom we have recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with). This was back in the day when I simply did not know how to cook, aside from the occasional pie but I would sit all afternoon in Rita’s kitchen and marvel as she would produce dish after dish after dish.
Finally, in the evenings we would feast for what seemed like hours and then we would shove the coffee table aside and dance (salsa) well into the night.
Joel and I have always loved spicy Mexican food and I learned from Rita how to make real refried beans instead of those horrible things that come pre-made in a can. Years later I had to have a little fun by experimenting with the additional flavours of beer and lime.
Thankfully, since, I have learned how to cook, I even soak my own beans! (Not a big deal of course but man… if you knew me back then you would understand how the last twenty years have changed me). Fragrant with herbs and citrus, these are how I personally make my frioles all these years later…
Here we go. Get ready. Cause you’re gonna wanna make those Garden Tacos on page 97 tonight and a big batch of…
Beans -n- Beer: The Best Refried Bean Recipe… Ever
You will need:
- 2 cans of pinto beans or one bag of dried pinto beans (though it’s not photoed we often add some
- Black beans too. Yum!)
- 1/2 cup beer (see ratios below*)
- 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
- Juice and zest of one lime
- Salt to taste
- *1/2 cup of beer for every two cans of beans or for one bag of dried beans
To soak your beans:
Start by rinsing your beans. One bag of beans (16 ounces) will serve about 8 people. Put them into a pot, cover with water and stir in two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This will draw out everything that causes beans to make people “uncomfortable”. Soak beans for 18-24 hours. White froth will rise to the top. After 18-24 hours rinse the beans and froth away. Fill the pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Cook beans until they are soft. Strain and put back in a clean pot. Continue with directions below.
Begin here if you are using canned beans. Strain the liquid from the beans and put them in a large saucepan. Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of beer. Nothing fancy. Any generic beer will work fine. Chop and add the cilantro and cook until soft. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Smash up with a pastry masher to your desired texture (I prefer a whole bean) and garnish with a little fresh cilantro and lime zest. If you are new to zesting be sure to give it a try. You’ll find it addicting. This is the zester I use.
So… in the mood for a Mex Fest tonight? We had one with some friends this past weekend and it was a riot. Build-your-own-tacos for four adults… and ten children. You should have seen the kitchen floor. HA!