REFRIED BROWN OR BLACK BEANS : Frijoles Refritos
Refried beans are usually mashed with plenty of fat, which makes them creamy and filling but a bit too rich for most people’s taste. This lightened-up version uses a little fresh lard for flavor and plenty of the cooking liquid to make a smooth and delicious side dish. (If you want something richer, try the Frijoles Puercos.) Don’t add salt to this dish; there is salt in the liquid used to cook the beans, and at any rate the beans should be a little underseasoned, to
play off the big tastes of the entrees and salsas they usually accompany.
2 tablespoons fresh lard or canola or corn oil
¼ cup finely minced white onion
1 small clove garlic, minced (optional)
4 cups cooked beans with their cooking liquid
Water or Caldo de Pollo, as needed
Crumbled cotija cheese
Sliced green onions
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the lard over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Add 1 cup of the beans and their liquid to the pan and mash to a smooth paste (this will be easier if the beans are warm). Return the skillet to the heat and continue to add the remaining beans, 1 cup at a time, mashing them until smooth after each addition and adding liquid as needed.
When all the beans are mashed, add any remaining cooking liquid (and additional water or broth, if necessary) to thin to the correct
consistency. The beans should be thick but not stiff.
Serve hot, sprinkled with the cotija cheese and green onions.
• To make frijoles borrachos (literally, “drunken beans”), add ½ cup beer to the pan with the first cup of beans.