Thursday, October 9, 2008

UnRefried Beans (CP)

Bethany's awesome, restaurant-quality, much-better-than-canned, actually-doable-where-we-live UnRefried Beans:

- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 3 C dry pinto beans, rinsed or a mixture of pinto beans and black beans
- 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 t minced garlic
- 5 ts salt
- 1 3/4 t fresh ground black pepper
- 1/8 t ground cumin, optional
- 9 C water (or chicken broth plus water to equal 9 C)

1. Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
2. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency (the beans absorb the liquid very quickly as they sit, so make it soupier than you will want the end consistency).

Modifications and Tips:
- I soaked the beans overnight in water with baking soda to, um, decrease the impact on our digestive systems. I kept the cooking time the same.
- I used a stick blender to mash the beans after draining them.
- The first time I cooked these, I used the broth I made from the fried turkey bones and skins we had at Thanksgiving. I had this in the freezer and had made half of it as soup, but it was too spicy for the kids. In the beans, though, with the added water it took to made the 9 cups (I had about 5 cups of broth), it was perfect. Not that everyone has fried turkey broth in their freezer, but if you make a soup too spicy, this might be an option, plus I thought people might find it interesting.
- Now that I've found dried black beans (read: Rob & Steph found them and pointed them out to me), I make these with 1/2 pinto and 1/2 black beans. I soak the black beans for less time than the pintos, and the black beans add to the creaminess of the final product.
- This makes enough for two meals for our family. We have it on a tortilla-type bread that we can get here with cheese, sour cream, salsa and anything else that sounds good. :-)
- If you do not mash or blend the beans, they are very similar to the El Charro beans served at many Mexican food restaurants (at least in Texas).
- I will often cook 1-2 chickens in the crockpot to use the meat in recipes. When I cook them, I add onion and maybe seasoning salt and fill the crockpot to the top with water. After they are cooked, I will use the broth to make the UnRefried Beans. It adds to the flavor.

Alternate spices:
2 t seasoned salt
2 t salt
1/2 t crushed red peppers
1/2 t cumin
1 t onion powder

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