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Bring the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine to your own kitchen with the Mexican classic, refried black beans. Rich in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals, beans are a staple of Mexican cuisine, and make a healthy addition to any meal

Refried black beans, or “frijoles refritos” in Mexican Spanish, are enormously versatile. Enjoy them with tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas or as a tasty side accompaniment to literally any dish

Scroll down to learn the secrets to preparing perfect refried black beans, and bring the taste of Mexico right on your plate

Why Refry Black Beans?

it’s a given fact that all bean dishes taste better after a day or two from preparing. And Mexican refried beans are no exception. Beans contain lots of protein, and the resting, cooling and reheating processes not only allow the flavours to amalgamate, but also release umami, the fifth primary taste of “deliciousness” derived from free amino acids such as glutamate and guanate

While you can simply add water or broth to yesterday’s beans, the refrying process breaks down the beans to release more umami, as well as further depth and complexity from the oil and all those yummy condiments you get a chance to add. There’s simply no tastier way to enjoy beans!

Making Black Beans For Refrying

mexican black beans

Before refrying black beans you’ll want to start with the raw material: a bean dish to refry. Without doubt, the quality of your refried black beans will depend more than anything on the quality of your base dish. I’ve covered the preparation of Mexican black beans in a seperate post. Take a look now, and come back when you’re ready to refry

Cooking beans at home lets you avoid all those additives present in store-bought options. On the other hand, when time is of the essence it´s great to be able to start from a can or jar of beans or Mexican bean paste. It may not be the best thing going straight out of the can, but you won’t believe the transformation after we’ve finished with it!

Storing And Reheating Beans

First and foremost you’ll want to ensure your beans age gracefully, remaining fresh rather than spoil and needing chucking

Refrigerate cooked beans as soon as they reach room temperature. The following day add a cup-full of broth or water and cook at medium high heat for 10-15 mins. Stir them fairly vigorously to stop the beans sticking. Don´t worry about breaking them up:  it’s all part of the cause for producing great refried beans

Tips For Refrying Black Beans

Once your black beans are cooked, it’s time to transform them into refried black beans. In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they are soft and translucent. Fresh sweet capsicums can be added now. Let them soften, then add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant

Other spices you can use include fresh or dried chilli, smoky paprika, cumin and oregano. Add them with the garlic until they release their aroma

Add the beans, stirring to incorporate the aromatic oil. If the mixture is too dry, add some broth or water to achieve the desired consistency. Leave them undisturbed for a minute or so to let a crust develop, then fold the crust into the bean mixture. Take care not to burn the beans!

I’ve been known to throw in a couple of tomatoes or left-over cooked veg, and even left soup from the day before. Keep stirring until most of the extra water has evaporated and the beans have formed a soft paste

The whole process can be repeated a second time the following day. Just make sure you refrigerate the beans as soon as they’re cool enough

How To Enjoy Refried Beans

Mexican black beans are fantastically versatile and can be enjoyed in lots of ways. Here are a few serving and pairing suggestions to elevate your veggie table:

1. Side dish: Mexican beans are a delicious side dish with any Mexican-inspired meal. In fact, any meal at all. They pair particularly well with corn-based dishes like enchiladas and tacos, and also with tamales

2. Refried beans are used to fill tlacoyos: doble-layered, oval tortillas with a beany centre. I’ll share the recipe for these in a later post. Meanwhile, check out this recipe for bean tlacoyos

3. Enfrijoladas: refried beans are loosened with vegetable broth and used to coat soft corn tortillas. Fill them with cheese or something else yummy, then fold or roll them onto a serving dish. Add your favorite toppings: if you’re not vegan, try soft crumbly feta, or a hard cheese for melting under the grill. If you’re vegan, try lightly roasted roughly crushed pupmkin or sesame seeds, hazelnuts or whatever you have to hand. Top with your favourite salsa and enjoy

4. Mexican black bean soup: Add the refried beans to vegetable broth to create a hearty and nutritious bean soup. Spice it up with chipotles in adobo or La Vera Spanish paprika, add more herbs of your choice and top with a dollop of sour cream or non-dairy yoghurt. Garnish with chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime for an final burst of flavour

homemade mexican refired black beans
Refried Black Beans Recipe
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course any
Cuisine Mexican
  • cooked Mexican black beans home-made or store bought
  • a generous quantity of good oil eg oilive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • garlic to your taste
  • fresh or dried epazote, oregano, marjoram or thyme or any of your favourite herbs
  • chipotles in adobo
  • smoky La Vera paprika (available as sweet, sweet-sour or spicy)
Optional Extra Ingredients
  • chopped skinned tomatoes
  • chopped sweet capsicums
  • chopped fresh green or red chillies
  • heat a generous amount of oil in a pan, add the finely chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent
  • add the capsicums and chiilies if used until they begin to soften
  • add the garlic and herbs and cook until aromatic
  • now add the beans, stirring to incorporate into the aromatic oil. If the mixture gets too dry, add some broth or water to achieve the desired consistency
  • every now and then, leave the beans undisturbed for a minute or so to develop a crust, then fold the crust into the bean mixture. Take care not to burn the beans
  • add extra ingredients such as tomatoes
  • I've been known to throw in leftover cooked vegetables or the remains of yesterday's soup
  • continue to stir the mixture until it has the consistency you like and smells divine
  • serve with a vegetable dish and rice or corn tortillas for a Mexican feast
  • or serve them as an accompaniment to any meal
  • refried beans like a garnish of crumbly cheese such as Mexican Cotija, Greek Feta or Turkish Lor
Keyword beans, Mexican, re-fried, rechauffe

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