Refried beans, like guacamole, are one of the most versatile staples of the traditional Southwestern repertoire. The beans are served as a side dish with almost all meals, and can be used as a topping with grated cheese on crisp nacho chips as an appetizer. When making a large quantity, doubling or tripling the recipe, mash some of the beans as directed below, and pulse the remainder in a processor. The beans can be made in advance and reheated, covered, in a 250 F oven.
- Lard or Bacon Fat - 1-1/2 cups
- Onions - 2 cups, chopped
- Garlic Cloves - 4, peeled and minced
- Flour - 1/4 cup
- Pinto Beans - 8 cups, cooked
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Monterey Jack cheese - 1 cup, grated, (optional)
Heat the lard or bacon fat in a heavy, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Lower the heat, add the flour, and stir for 3 minutes to cook the flour and form a roux.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add the beans. Using the back of a large wooden spoon or a potato masher, mash the beans into the bottom of the pan, stirring frequently so they do not stick. When the beans are broken up but still have visible pieces, simmer for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper, and serve sprinkled with grated cheese.