Canned refried beans aren't bad, but this version is much more flavorful. If you make a large batch and freeze it in portions, you will have beans for months and save money, too.
INGREDIENTS | MAKES 3 QUARTS
1 pound dried pinto beans
Water, as needed
2 cups light beer or chicken broth
1½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeño chilies, seeded
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Juice from 2 limes
Rinse and sort the beans. Place in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by several inches. Soak overnight. Drain off the water and place over a medium-low flame and cook for 4–5 hours, or until they're tender. Drain.
Place a few cups of the beans, some of the broth, and some of the salt in a food processor and purée it until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour into a container and pulse another batch. Repeat until you have just a few cups of beans left. Pulse them slightly so they're chunky. Stir all the beans together.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, jalapeño, and cumin to the skillet and cook for 5–7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir the beans into the skillet and simmer until reduced, thick, and creamy. Remove the beans from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and season with salt.
Non-Vegetarian Refried Beans
It's common to fry beans in bacon drippings. If you wish to make beans that way, chop 6 slices of bacon into matchsticks. Cook until crispy and then add the onion, jalapeño, cumin, and garlic to the pan. The smoky and salty bacon flavor will add a level of flavor that the vegetarian version doesn't have.