a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Say “Si! Si!” to the burrito!

on July 29, 2012

I really don’t know how long it would take me to get tired of eating Mexican food if I ate it on a daily basis but, in the name of science (or any other name), I’d be willing to sacrifice myself to find out…

I cook Mexican food 2-3 times a week for lunches/dinners…sometimes breakfast…and, when I don’t feel like cooking Fred — the kind, loving, and always hungry person he is, takes me out to dinner — and it’s usually for Mexican food. (It really is a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned).

Very rarely do I use an actual recipe for things outside of baking. The ingredients in Mexican food are so ‘forgiving’… like, if you add too much cheese to your burrito. (Yes. That was a test. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as “too much cheese”). The ingredients can be tailored to suit everyone’s taste buds – which is what makes it so versatile. This week, I’m thinking, homemade refried beans would be mighty tasty.

I couldn’t find just one recipe for refried beans that sounded like what I was looking for so I decided to make up my own based on what I read from several recipes. I’m an experienced enough cook to do this. *cough*

IMPORTANT: While I was reading up on beans and looking up different recipes, specifically using dried, red kidney beans which are my favorite, I found the most surprising information on them. Did you know they’re toxic if eaten undercooked or raw? Apparently most, if not all dried beans are – especially kidney beans. They need to be soaked at least 12 hours and boiled (full rolling boil) at least 10 minutes to remove the “lectin,” which is the stuff that makes you sick. Apparently, as few as 5-6 undercooked or improperly cooked beans can cause reactions you really don’t want (ie; counting bathroom floor tiles for hours on end…or worse). Of course the tinned or canned beans have already gone through this process so they’re okay. But I’m determined to make mine from scratch so I will dirty another pan to soak and boil before I crock pot. If you never hear from me, again, after this posting, you’ll know I should’ve boiled the beans 11 minutes instead of 10 (just kidding…).

LB’s Slow Cooker Smokey Refried Kidney Beans

This recipe makes a lot of beans. You can certainly cut the recipe down (but they freeze great!) or use some of the beans for other recipes. Me? I’m going to refry them all.

1 lb dried Kidney Beans

(Note: Everything past this point is just a “starting point” for flavoring the beans – use more or less of any of these to suit your taste).

1/4 finely diced Onion (white, red, or yellow…all good).

1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke (love this stuff. Being a vegetarian I can get the smokey flavor without all the attached animal)

1/2 tsp. Salt

1  tsp. minced Garlic

1/2 tsp. Cumin

1/4 tsp. Chili Powder

Cooking Oil (you can use other types of fat, such as bacon grease or lard, or leave it out, altogether. The fat just makes them ‘creamier’ and adds a bit of flavor).


The day before: Place the beans in a large cook pan/pot and fill with clean water (about 2″ past the top of the beans) and let them soak, at least, 12 hours before you start to cook them. 

Day of cooking: Drain the beans, rinse them, add more clean water, and boil them (a good, rolling boil) for, at least 10 minutes (if the foam gets ‘wild’ while they’re cooking, just skim it off. Fred named this “bean scum”…lovely image, eh?). Drain the beans and add them to the slow cooker. Add clean, hot water to about 1″ below the rim of the cooker.  Add 1/2 of each of the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the oil (you’ll be adding the rest, plus more for taste and consistency, once the beans are done). Cook on low for 4 hours then switch to high for 4 more hours. Remove the beans and drain any remaining liquid from cooking.

At this point you’re ready to mash and fry them. Preheat your pan (I use a Dutch Oven for this instead of a non-stick pan as I can get a little wild with the potato masher) then add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.** Add the beans, the rest of the ingredients, and start mashing away!

I cook them about 5-10 minutes before deciding if I need more oil or not. The consistency will change some as they cook.

** If you preheat your pan before adding the fat, you’ll have less of a problem with food sticking.

I ended up making “green chili burritos” with the beans (bean burritos covered in green chili salsa & topped with onions & cheese).  They were delish!


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