Hey! Here’s a bonus episode. We totally screwed up because we forgot to tell you how to cook refried beans. This episode is part of our breakfast taco series and is featured in our brand-new and totally awesome Breakfast Taco Book!
Scroll down for instructions on How to Cook Dried Beans.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or lard for more traditional beans)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked beans (pinto or black beans are preferred)
- water or bean-cooking liquid
- Sauté the garlic in the oil or lard for a few seconds over medium-low heat in a large skillet.
- Add about ½ cup of the beans and mash them up. A potato masher works, but so does a big metal spoon.
- Add more beans, mashing after each installment.
- Add about ¼ cup of their cooking liquid (or water if you're using canned beans) if they seem dry.
- Keep stirring and mashing, adding more liquid if necessary, until you have a skillet of fairly smooth, well-fried beans. It should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes or a little thinner.
- Add salt if it needs it and some oregano if you're feeling it.
How to Cook Dried Beans
To cook beans from scratch, the first step is to sort the beans. If you usually skip that step, take heed, children, for I too was once of the mind that a quick look-over would suffice until the woeful day when I chomped into my chalupa and found a rock.
- Put 2 cups of dry beans (pinto or black) in a colander and look through them…really look at them. Pull out any funky looking beans or anything that is not, in fact, a bean. Then rinse them and put them in a big ass pot.
- Now you have two options: To soak or not to soak. Soaking may remove some of the gaseous qualities of legumes, but it also requires forethought. With some beans such as black or kidney, it also drains away their color. I usually do not soak, but here are the two methods.
- To soak: Cover the beans in the big ass pot with 3″ of water. Cover and leave to soak at room temperature 8 hours or over night. Drain and cover with 2″ of fresh water. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered 1-2 hours depending on the bean, until they are softened enough that one can be easily mashed between your thumb and finger.
- To cook directly: Cover the beans in the big ass pot with 4″ of water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and cook at a strong simmer for 2-3 hours, adding hot water as necessary to keep the beans covered, until they are softened enough that one can be easily mashed between your thumb and finger.
- To Season: Always salt beans AFTER they are softened. For a pound of beans, start with 2 teaspoons of salt and add from there until they are seasoned to your liking. Remember the most reliable way to taste the beans is to taste the bean cooking liquid, rather than a bean itself. Once the liquid is salty enough, so are your beans. Seasonings like whole peeled garlic cloves and halved onion or jalapeno may be added at the beginning of cooking time. Avoid adding tomatoes or other acidic seasonings at the beginning because they could make the bean skins tough. Add those when you salt the beans.