Traditional refried beans are easy, delicious and just like you would get in a Mexican restaurant!. Affiliate links were used in this post. A copy of Dos Caminos Mexican Street Food: 120 Authentic Recipes to Make at Home was sent to me by the publishers for purposes of an honest review.
Finally! You would not believe how hard of a time I have had sitting down and getting this post to you! First, on Wednesday, when I hoped to post it, we lost power for pretty much the entire chunk of my writing hours–i.e., late at night. Then Thursday I was at Costco all day, and when I returned home I discovered Finnegan had found one of my Costco-sized (1.75 lbs) jars of I Love Peanut Butter”s Dark Chocolate Dreams. That stuff is awesome–no dumb dog, he– but it is awesome because of how much chocolate is in it. So off we went to the vet, for induced vomiting, charcoal, the whole nine yards. By the time I got home I was whupped. And then I was gone again all day today. Ack! So, finally, these amazing refried beans…
As I mentioned before, I wanted refried beans to serve with the chilaquiles I made the other night. I very purposefully went looking for a recipe that would remind me of the traditional beans we are served in our favorite Mexican restaurants, because I knew that was what Sammy would expect (Alex was not home). I had just received Ivy Stark’s Dos Caminos Mexican Street Food: 120 Authentic Recipes to Make at Home from the publisher, after enjoying Dos Caminos Tacos: 100 Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Mexican Street Food so much. So I thought I might find something there.
Success! Her refried beans start with dried beans, which I heartily approve of, and use avocado leaves and bacon for extra flavor. I used my own recipe for cooking the dried beans (and I used heirloom beans for that matter) with lard, onion and garlic. And I made the unfortunately necessary substitution of anise seeds (just a few) and bay leaves for the unavailable avocado leaves and feta for cotija cheese. I also drizzled my beans with Mexican crema. The recipe was perfect. Sammy especially went crazy–so crazy that, as I mentioned before, she more or less refused to even try the chilaquiles, instead eating refried beans the whole night!
And as for the book itself, it is a winner. The assortment of dishes is wonderfully varied, reminding us that in other countries street food does not mean only meats cooked on a grill, or even just the taco fillings of the ever increasing (delightfully so) taco trucks in this country. Street food could be a stew, a meat that has braised the entire night before, popsicles, corn, drinks…. of course it is the braises and stews that I am most attracted to, and will return to as the weather grows colder, but there is something for everyone.
- 1 pound dry black or pinto beans
- 2 avocado leaves [“Resources” chapter has suggestions of places to buy]
- 2 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 -inch strips
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed if desired, minced
- ½ cup lard
- Juice of 1 lime
- Crumbled Cotija cheese to garnish (optional)
Rinse the beans and soak overnight in a large pot of cold water. (If you don’t have time to soak overnight, put the beans into a pot of water to cover by at least 2 inches and bring to a boil; turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.) The following day, bring the pot of beans to a boil, add the avocado leaves, turn the heat down, and simmer until tender, 2 to 3 hours.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until golden brown; add the onion and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeños and cook for about 3 minutes, adding a little lard or bacon fat, if necessary, to keep the beans from sticking.
Drain the beans; reserve the cooking liquid. Scrape the onion mixture into the container of a food processor along with about 2 cups of the cooked beans and puree. Combine the puree with the remaining the beans.
In a large, heavy casserole, melt the lard over medium-high heat; add the beans and fry for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt. If the mixture seems dry, add some leftover bean water until you reach the desired consistency. Serve topped with crumbled Cotija cheese, if desired.
I’ve been to the Dos Caminos restaurants here in NYC and I LOVE their food, so I can’t wait to try to replicate the refried beans! I wonder if I can order avocado leaves online…
Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy says
Now I’m curious to learn more about avocado leaves. I like the addition of lime juice in this recipe– I’ll have to try that. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
I love the use of avocado leaves and bacon! Although Im interested to hear where you found avocado leaves?? 🙂 I love refried beans, they are the best!
I didn’t! 🙂 I substituted anise seeds and bay leaves, which was the best recommendation I could find.
What are the measurements for the anise and bay leaves?
They are pretty much to taste. The cookbook did not suggest an amount, and I am not a big fan of anise, so I only used a few seeds, like a tiny pinch using my thumb and pointer finger, and maybe 2 bay leaves. Hope that helps!
Laura, I always love your book reviews. I learn so much and find myself wishing that I used the cookbooks I have more often. Alas, the life of a blogger means that typically I try to do more cooking on my own and less “from a book.” Anyway, I’m now curious about avocado leaves – I had no idea they were used in cooking. Can you get them from an avocado plant that you grow from a seed or are they special in some way? Not that I have an avocado plant:)
That is a great question. Given that I do not live anywhere avocados would grow I guess I never considered it! If you find out, come back and let me know!
Laura, how many servings would thus recipe serve. I have been asked to make the refried beans for a nephew’s “Taco wedding” this summer and I am looking to make enough for approximately 100. Personally I like the darker refried beans, however, I shall probably make a dark bean and a light one as well. Thanks for any help..
Gosh I feel like you almost need to ask someone who caters large events, because at a large event you will have a lot more other dishes to compete with the refried beans, if that makes sense. And you can certainly make this recipe with either black or pinto beans. But at any rate, this made about 8 servings when served with the accompanying one pot meal chilaquiles.
This recipe for refried beans is AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. I omitted the avocado leaves since I didn’t know where I could get them. Still turned out amazing!
Any chance you also have an authentic Mexican rice recipe?? I’ve tried different ones on different websites and none of them taste like what I’d get in an amazing Mexican restaurant..
I do not–mainly because I have never been very big on Mexican rice (much to the horror of the rest of my family!). I would trust anything by Rick Bayless–this recipe might be a good starting place: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/mexican-red-rice/