You can buy refried black beans (frijoles negros refritos) in a can if you want, but they won’t have anywhere near the flavor and complexity that you can coax out of them by doing it yourself.
If you buy it in a can, you’ll also end up paying substantially more for something that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good.
Cooking refried black beans like this takes time to complete, but it isn’t very much work. Mostly it’s just a bit of waiting.
You can use canned black beans if you like, but they won’t taste as good. The problem with canned beans is that they are already cooked and won’t have the opportunity to absorb the flavors in the broth they were cooked in.
To substitute canned beans for the dried in this recipe, just saute the onions and spices, then add four 15-ounce cans of black beans (drained), and stir it all together. Once you’ve done that, start with step five.
Frijoles Negros Refritos – Refried Black Beans
- 1 lb. dried black beans
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion – chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lard
The Night Before
- Pick any small stones or dirt out of the beans, then place into a bowl with enough water to cover by at least two inches. Mix in 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and stir until dissolved.
The Next Day
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Heat a 9-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic and saute for an additional minute.
- Add the drained beans, 1 tsp. salt, and two quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for two hours.
- Remove lid and simmer until the beans are soft and the liquid has reduced to a gravy-like texture. Drain, reserving liquid.
- Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of lard. Once completely melted, add drained beans. Mash with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon while cooking. Add enough of the cooking liquid to reach your desired consistency. Cook, stirring and mashing constantly for 4-5 minutes. (Note: Some chunks are good. You don't want a bean puree.)