The musical fruit

I didn't like refried beans until fairly recently. In fact, it wasn't until after I'd tried feijoada that I started liking bean dishes of any sort. Now beans of all sorts are amongst my favourite foods.

Obviously canned refried beans are the most convenient, but not all brands are created equal, Some of them smell suspiciously close to dog food, or have a strange consistency. With that in mind, I decided to try making my own. The following is what I came up with. I don't think I'll be buying tinned beans again.

Frijoles Refritos

2 tbspn olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
6 slices pickled jalapeno
2 x 425g can kidney beans, drained*
1 x 425g can cannellini beans, liquid reserved
1 tspn smoked paprika
2 tspn cumin
1 can beer


Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the paprika and cumin and cook until fragrant. Add the beans, including the liquid from the cannellini beans. Add the beer and stir to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer from one to two hours, until the beans are soft. Stir regularly to make sure the beans don't stick. When the beans are soft, mash with a potato masher to the desired consisteny - I like some of the beans to remain whole.

Serve with rice or as part of your favourite Mexican food.

Bean dip

Use the leftovers - if you have any - for a simple but tasty dip, by combining equal parts beans and yoghurt, with lime juice to make the consistency you like.

*If you prefer to use dried beans, prepare the beans by covering with water, bring to the boil then remove from heat and soak for at least an hour before cooking. This reduces the toxicity of the kidney beans and means you won't end up with what seems like a bout of food poisoning.


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