Anyone who loves great food from their favorite Mexican food restaurant knows that canned refried beans leave a lot to be desired. The good news, is that making refried beans at home that taste exactly like what you order at Mexican food restaurants is actually pretty easy. As with any really good Mexican food dish, making refried beans that taste like the kind found in restaurants takes time and effort, but the result is more than worth the extra work. If you want to make delicious refried beans at home that taste like the ones you get at Mexican food restaurants, follow these directions.
The secret ingredient – I was amazed to learn that the true “secret” to achieving the telltale flavor of refried beans that are served in Mexican food restaurant, is bacon grease. At first, I didn’t believe it. What’s more, is that I had never cooked with bacon grease before in my entire life. However, the first time I tried making refried beans using bacon grease, I couldn’t deny that it was definitely the secret ingredient that had been missing in my prior attempts at making this dish. So, the first thing you need to do if you want to make refried beans at home that taste like the kind served in Mexican food restaurants, is to cook some bacon, and save the grease. Simply let the grease cool and solidify, and then refrigerate it in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge easily for 3 months stored in this manner. I prefer to purchase bacon at the deli counter, and this type will yield about half a cup of bacon grease per pound of bacon. You will only need a small amount for each batch of refried beans that you make.
Follow the directions on the bag of dry pinto beans – When making refried beans at home that taste like the ones found in Mexican food restaurants, start out by following the directions on the bag of dry pinto beans. The directions will basically tell you sort and rinse the beans in a colander, then cover the beans with water in a bowl, and let sit overnight at room temperature.
Cook the beans – In order to make refried beans at home that will taste like the ones from your favorite Mexican food restaurant, you will want to add a few extra ingredients when initially cooking the beans. This portion of the process will be done in a pot, and essentially, you just put the soaked beans into the pot, and put in enough cold water to cover the beans. At this point, I add about half of a chopped red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. That’s it. Then bring the beans to a boil, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, generally 2-3 hours During this time, you will need to add more water as the liquid evaporates. I generally have to add more water twice during the process. When the beans are fully cooked, do not discard the liquid!
Mash and fry the beans – Take 1.5 to 2 Tablespoons of the solid bacon grease, and melt in a heated skillet, on low heat. Use a large spoon to add enough beans from the pot into the skillet about half an inch deep. Begin to mash beans gently with a fork, and add liquid from the pot of beans to achieve your desired consistency. Continue this process until all beans are mashed. The heat will dry the beans out so you will be adding more liquid from the pot of beans as you work to mash them. Add more whole beans when the first batch is fully mashed, until all of the beans are mashed and blended. Salt to taste, if necessary. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.
Follow these simple steps and you will have delicious refried beans that taste just like the ones you get at Mexican food restaurants!