Stella’s Frijoles Negros Refritos

Special double shout-out to Shanita in this post! Both for the delicious salsa seen here, and for the motivation to properly cook my own pot of beans!

For the crock pot
1 lb. dried black beans
1 heaping tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
~1 Tbsp Cholula hot sauce
room temperature water

For the skillet
2 Tbsp bacon fat or lard
2 Tbsp olive oil, halved
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
fresh cilantro, for garnish

I didn’t soak these beans. There are varying opinions on this, and most cooks claim that soaking the beans for eight hours or longer will make them easier to digest (e.g. less gassy). I honestly cannot tell the difference, and even the eminent Diana Kennedy, in From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients, says soaking is generally a waste of time. I leave it up to you.

1. Pour dried beans into a colander in the sink and rinse thoroughly with cool water, removing any stones, debris, or damaged beans.

2. Put the beans into the crock pot, pour in room temperature water just high enough to cover, and turn heat to high. Cook for about one hour, adding more water if necessary.

3. Reduce heat to low. Add all other crock pot ingredients, stir, re-cover, and cook for six to eight hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary. Try the beans after about four hours to see if they are done. Allow the water to be absorbed in the final couple of hours of cooking time, or drain off excess before continuing. Here you can either freeze, refrigerate, or re-fry the beans (as below).

4. Over medium heat, melt bacon fat or lard in a large, flat skillet. Add olive oil, then stir in beans. Using a potato masher or table fork (I find the latter works much better), smash all of the beans in the pan, stirring in the oil as you go. Add salt and garlic powder, to taste. You can leave your beans chunky, or smash them to a smooth consistency; I prefer the latter.

5. Scoop out beans and serve garnished with cilantro, cheese, and/or sour cream.

You can also freeze or refrigerate refried beans. Try to use them within one week if refrigerated. To reheat, sprinkle with water and microwave; or, re-fry a second time.

Shown here with breakfast tacos and Hal’s Hot Love, a creamy garlic jalapeño from Shanita’s Salsitas.

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