by Dario in Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Mmmm, refried beans, a main dish accompanied by flavourful sides as well as a staple in burritos, refried beans are probably one of the healthiest comfort foods out there! We met Dario in Cluj-Napoca, Romania at our adopted home of Casa de Cultura Permanenta. While he wasn’t actively staying in the house with us, he was a frequent visitor with his girlfriend, Emma, and one night he decided to treat us all to a Mexican food night! I was so excited, it’s pretty hard to find Mexican food in a lot of Europe and we missed both the Mexican and Tex-Mex flavours we were used to getting back home. Like a lot of people out there, I had never tried making my own refried beans, but after Dario gave us all a beginners lesson in Mexican cuisine I’m hooked! It’s pretty easy to make, and if you have a slow cooker at home it just gets ridiculous.
- Beans (duh), preferably black, brown, berlotti, or pinto – about 1/2 cup per person
- Onion, chopped fine – about 1/4 per person
- Garlic, chopped fine – 3 cloves for 8 people
- Cooking oil
Soak beans in water overnight (2 parts water for 1 part beans). Throw away the water and strain the beans when ready to start cooking.
Bring a pot of water to a boil with the beans, half of the onion and all of the garlic. When the water starts to boil, add salt. Let the beans boil until they are soft enough to break when squeezed.
Heat up a deep saucepan with some cooking oil. Add the second half of the onions once the pan is hot. When onion is transparent, start adding the beans, leaving behind the water they were boiling in. Start mashing the beans in the pans, adding some water from the pot little by little until the consistency of the beans is like sour cream or even a bit runnier.
Add some cheese to the top if you’d like, and enjoy! For some ideas to go with your refried beans, try this Layered Buffalo Chicken Dip, substitute it into an English Breakfast, or just throw it into a burrito with some toppings and call it a day!