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How to Make Refried Beans… from Scratch

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I always thought refried beans came in a can that smelled something like dog food. But the delicious, rich flavor of restaurant-style pinto beans is incredibly easy to duplicate at home. Make four servings with five minutes of effort, a few spices and two dollars’ worth of dried beans. Inexpensive, easy, and from the heart—everything the Experimental Wife wants in a recipe.

Refried Beans
Makes 4 Servings

  • 1 pound of dried pinto beans
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 a stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin, plus more to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Pick the beans, sorting through them for pebbles or other debris.  When you’re done, rinse them thoroughly.
  2. Add the beans to a pot and cover them with an inch of water.
  3. Add the baking soda. The baking soda will break down the skins on the beans more quickly, making them soft and juicy.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Cover the beans and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let them cook for an hour and a half or so—until the beans are really soft. Check every fifteen minutes or so and add more water if necessary.
  5. Add butter, cumin, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. You can either mash or blend the beans until the desired consistency.

Looking for step-by-step instructions for how to make your favorite foods from scratch? How to Cook Everything is a great resource for beginning cooks and foodies alike.

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