Chunky refried beans

Today I had another little cooking session and used it as an excuse to make pupusas again.  I thought I would go one step further and make the refried beans from scratch – rather than use the can of refried beans I have, they are not so easy to buy here in France.  But making them from a can of kidney beans is so easy.  And my kids love homemade refried beans, especially with fajitas.

When you buy refried beans in a can, they are generally pureed.  They are good but I do making them myself which have a bit more texture.  Rather than using a blender, I just mash them in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon or with a fork  – you could even use a potato masher. Incidentally, the name is a bit of poor translation as frijoles refritos actually means recooked beans.


Olive oil

Half an onion

One fresh tomato

A clove of garlic

Some chilli – could be fresh, dried flakes, smoked paprika or skip it if you prefer

A can of kidney beans or pinto beans

A splash of water

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and soften the finely chopped onion over a medium heat, then add the crushed garlic, stir for a minute.

Half the tomato and then grate the tomato directly in the pan, discarding the skin.  Add whatever chilli you would like, if any.  Cook for a couple of minutes.

Drain and rinse your beans and then add them to the pan.  Heat them through while mashing them into a lumpy texture.  You made need a splash of water to get a better texture – you don’t want your beans to be too dry.  Serve them hot with fajitas, pupusas or as a side to any Mexican dish.  Or try breakfast El Salvadorean style – tortillas, scrambled eggs, refried beans and fried plantain.  It may sound like a weird combination but it is really good.

If you prefer the smooth texture that you find in the canned refried beans then just tip the mixture into a food processor and whizz until you have the consistency that you want.  You will have to add a little water as you go.

And there you have it, refried beans – relatively quick and easy, the way you want them.

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