I wanted to do something a little different with my refried beans. Sunday’s Parade Magazine had an article on ways to make your beans a little different. Adding chocolate seemed like a perfectly Mexican thing to do, but I have never seen a refried bean recipe that included it.
Chilies and chocolate it seems so natural. I wanted this to be a side dish, so I chose to start with only one cup of dried beans. If my have more guests—or want lots of leftovers—double the recipe.
Karl’s Refried Beans Azteca
1 cup uncooked pinto beans
2 wedges of Mexican chocolate, grated
2 Tbs. lard from pork roast ( bacon drippings or corn oil for Vegan)
½ cup raw onion, diced fine
1 Serrano chili, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Jalapeño chili, cap removed, cut in half and seeded
salt to taste
½ cup raw onion
1 cup grated cheddar
1. Rinse beans and check for debris.
2. Grate the chocolate into a cup and reserve it for later.
3. Put the beans in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
4. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat and let the beans rest for one hour.
5. Add lard (corn oil) to a Dutch oven and heat over medium heat.
6. Sauté the onions until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
7. Add the Serrano chili and cook for 1 minute more.
8. Pull the vegetables to the edges of the pot and add garlic to the hole in the center. Sauté the garlic until fragrant, about one minute.
9. Drain the bean water into a large bowl.
Tip: Do not discard the soaking water. Especially with pinto beans much of the color and vitamins of the bean skins leaches into the soak water. If you throw it away your refried beans will come out gray and unappealing.
10. Measure the bean water and add it to the Dutch oven.
11. Add more water to make four cups of liquid.
Tip: You may use a good Mexican beer if you wish.
12. Bring the beans to a boil, and stir in the chocolate and the Jalapeño.
13. Reduce the heat to low, loosely cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure that the chocolate is not settling to the bottom of the pot.
Tip: A cocked lid allows some of the steam to escape but keeps the bubbling beans from splattering onto the stove.
Note: If water level gets low, add some boiling hot water. Adding cold water would increase the cooking time.
14. When beans are extremely soft, drain the beans, conserving most of the liquid.
Tip: You will only need about a quarter cup of this liquid to moisten the beans as you mash them. If you have more than half a cup of liquid from the cooking water, let it settle for 10 minutes. After a few minutes the chocolate, and much of the bean’s coloring, will settle to the bottom of the bowl. Decant most the thin liquid on top into a second bowl and use the thick sediment from the bottom of the bowl.
15. Put beans is a separate bowl and set the Jalapeño halves aside.
16. Use a slotted spoon to add about half a cup of beans back into the Dutch oven and mash the beans with a potato masher.
17. The mashed beans will be dry and thick. Add the reserved cooking liquid about a tablespoon at a time to moisten the beans.
Tip: You may also add some more lard or corn oil at this time to make the beans richer.
18. Continue add and mashing the beans—adding bean liquid as necessary.
Tip: The beans should be moist but not soupy.
19. Add salt to taste and garnish with the Jalapeño.
Tip: Serve with chopped onions and cheese on the side—to be added as your diners choose.