Over the weekend I made up a big pot of cranberry beans in my slow cooker. I’ve been trying to be more frugal and a great way to save some money is to cook dried beans instead of buying them by the can. Plus, they just taste better and undoubtedly have less sodium. Confession time- I bought cranberry beans as an experiment. I wasn’t very familiar with them and thought they would cook up and look just like pinto beans. So here I am on Sunday with a huge pot of beans that I wasn’t really confident on how to use. They are bigger than pintos when cooked and I was a little unsure if they would be good in burritos on their own. But they looked good and tasted good, so I decided I was going to try to make my own refried beans. I mean, how hard could it be??
Turns out, not very hard! I learned a few things in talking to our Twitter friends. “Refried” is a poor translation for refrito, which means “well fried” not the way we think of it as re-frying beans as if they’ve been fried before (thanks to Elise from Simply Recipes for the explanation). Nearly everyone who responded to my query said they were so easy to make and worth it!
I admit that I did follow the recipe from Simply Recipes, but it’s so simple it’s laughable! Basically, you cook your beans and mash them slightly. Then sauté a diced onion (I used only 1/2 of a large, white one) in some olive oil. When that is clear, add your beans and a small amount of water and cook until they liquid is absorbed. Flavor with salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you like (I added garlic) and use as you would canned beans. It’s simple and SOOOO tasty!! They went over very well at my house and there were no leftovers. I urge you to try this for yourself. Since I left out something important, I’m sure, head over to Simply Recipes for a step by step recipe.
P.S. The Kitchn has a great method for cooking dried beans in the slow cooker. My only addition to their method is that I’ve found 1-2″ of water is quickly absorbed by the beans if you have not soaked them overnight and there’s no harm in extra water. I’d recommend 3-4″ of water to cover the beans.