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Monday, September 5, 2011

Marvelous Refried Beans

I learned to make these beans from my friend and neighbor, Lori. She insisted when I called here that the way of preparing them was too simple to even be called a recipe. I always feel like I'm getting away with something when I serve these, because they are so incredibly easy and yet they taste incredibly good. And they come off looking like you slaved over them for hours.

All you'll need is a couple of cans of pinto beans. The number of cans you need depends on the number of people you're serving. Lori recommends one can per three people. We have been known to stretch it a little beyond that, say one can per four or five people. But use your judgment based on the appetites you're feeding. Drain about half of the liquid off of the beans, until the liquid that is running off is cloudy rather than clear.

I like to sautee a little onion and garlic in a little vegetable oil before I add the beans to the sauce pan. Once they are clear (but not necessarily brown), add the beans. Cook them until they are warmed through. Then smash them with a potato masher until they are not completely broken down (you want a few whole or partially whole beans for effect). Then add salsa to taste; I usually stir in 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

Keep the beans on a low simmer until you're ready to serve them. I usually stir in a bit of grated cheese and then top it with cheese in the serving bowl.