Sunday, February 17, 2008

Classic Mexican Fried Beans with Onions and Garlic

Adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.

This is an easy recipe that can be adjusted to include more spices or less if you want them plainer. Mr. K likes spicy foods, so he likes to add cinnamon and the smoky flavors from canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

makes about 3-1/2 cups, 6 generous servings

2 tblsp vegetable oil, rich-tasting lard, bacon or chorizo drippings
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 cups undrained, seasoned cooked beans (you can use practically any variety here, either canned or homemade), preferably slightly warm for easy mashing
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 cinnamon stick
Salt, to taste
About 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled Mexican queso fresco for garnish

Frying and mashing the beans. In a large (10 to 12 inch), well seasoned or nonstick skillet, heat the oil or pork fat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until deep golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for a minute or so, then use a slotted spoon to scoop in about 1/4 of the beans, leaving most of the liquid behind. With a bean (or potato) masher or the back of a large spoon, mash the beans into a coarse puree. Add another portion of the beans, mash them in, and continue until all of the beans have been added and coarsely mashed.

Add about a cup of bean liquid (or water if you have no liquid) and stir frequently over the heat until the beans are still a little soupier than you'd like to serve them (they'll thicken as they sit - I like my finished beans the consistency of soft mashed potatoes). The total cooking and mashing will take 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.

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