Serious Eats: Recipes
Dinner Tonight: Refried Beans Your Way
I just had a revelation last night about something most of you may have already known. Sometimes one little thing can completely change the way you make something as classic as refried beans—and that one thing for me was pork fat. Accept no substitutes (unless, of course, you are a vegetarian). That fat can be freshly rendered lard, bacon grease, or sautéed salt pork—but pork it must be. It rounds out this dish giving it meaty flavor without requiring much meat to do so.
This is sort of a mishmash of a few recipes I found in Saveur, Cooks Illustrated, and Chowhound. They all had little quirks, but the essential process is the same. Cook pinto beans in pork fat. Some added water, while others used chicken stock. Some started with canned beans, other mandated starting with dried. I actually had the foresight to cook my own dried beans this time, but the canned kind will definitely work, too. Basically what I learned is that it’s a personal preference, and additional ingredients can be added as needed. The below recipe mentioned is how I garnish a big bowl of refried beans.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a co-founder of The Paupered Chef, a blog dedicated to saving time and money while enjoying food in every way possible. He sells wine for a living and lives in Columbus, Ohio.