Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beans!

I have to say, beans are not usually followed in any recipe with an exclamation point. In fact, the foods that have a "!" on the end are usually processed bags of blah. Next time you peruse through the grocery store, watch out for them.

But I'm getting off topic. This is about beans, or rather, beans! More specifically refried beans. A staple to many Mexican dishes but probably only found in your diet as a side at a Mexican restaurant or in a Taco Bell burrito. Not the way they were originally intended. Taking a page from my pseudo Hispanic heritage (I grew up near Mexico) I like to put beans in lots of foods. More importantly, my girlfriend loves them. Why? Because they are simply delicious!

Refried beans come from re-cooking pinto beans and mashing them into a kind of paste. While this sounds mildly displeasing, they are actually quite tasty. I have made my own before, and while they are quite good, they take a bit of time with the soaking, the cooking, the cooling, the mashing, and anything else I can think of to get a smooth texture. In my opinion its much better to go with the canned variety. I like Rosarita Fat-Free. Yes, I said fat free, so deal with it. I promise you will not be disappointed.

A small tangent I would like to go for is the wonderful health benefits of beans. Full of fiber, vitamins, and protein while being devoid of fat, cholesterol, and loads of calories, pretty much every other country in the world eats more beans than we do. And most of them live longer. Get it? The refried variety show up in a lot of my dishes, so before I go off on those I have to explain how I make beans. So here we go.

Refried Beans

1 can Rosarita Fat-Free Beans
1-2 T bacon fat
1-2 oz shredded cheese (Cheddar and Colby-Jack work best)
2ish T of milk

Whoa, whoa, I know, I said buy fat free, and now I want you to add bacon fat? Yes, I do. First of all, 1-2 tablespoons of the stuff split between four people is much healthier than anything you shamelessly ate the last time you walked into a fast food joint. And more importantly, pork fat rules! It lends a smoky flavor that cannot be matched by any other fat put into beans. And if you do not have bacon fat, save some the next time you make bacon. I keep a small container in my fridge at all times. If you think about it, many great dishes would taste better with bacon fat than butter.

So back to our beans. Heat a small pot over medium-low heat, add the bacon fat until it melts, and add the beans, stirring to incorporate the two. Add the milk and cheese and stir. Vary the amount of each to accommodate your desired consistency. Heat until the cheese melts, and serve.

Yep, no seasoning. If you want some spice, you can add whatever you like. No need for salt thanks to the cheese. You can serve these on the side or use them for burritos, tacos, and many other goodies. They are the base for my Indian Fry Bread, which I will post in the near future.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  March 18, 2008 at 1:15 PM  

so why are you telling me to add fat to non- fat beans, sorry but using
dried beans and adding all the good stuff while cooking is the true way
to go!!!

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