I decided to make these on a particularly warm March day (75 degrees!). While the beans simmered away on the stovetop, I had the windows open while dancing around to One Direction. I'm secretly a tween. Even with the windows open, the delicious smell of the beans and bacon wafted throughout the house. Apparently, you could smell them outside as well because my neighbor
The recipe is really simple - Much of the time it takes to make these beans is just waiting for them to cook. The only real prep time (should you choose to soak the beans beforehand) is very minimal. This is a great recipe to make while you're cleaning the house or folding laundry since the beans need to simmer for around two hours. The recipe didn't call for bacon but I decided to add it for a smoky flavor. Also, next time I make these I think I'll add smoked paprika instead of just regular paprika. The flavor of these beans is like none I've ever had before. They addition of brown sugar and onions makes them sweet, yet the red pepper flakes adds a nice spicy kick.
Homemade Refried Beans
2 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
3 quarts water
2 strips of uncooked bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 T. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/2 T. paprika
2 T. brown sugar
4 T. salt, or as needed
2. Rinse the beans to get off any dirt.
3. Add the beans and bacon to a pot and cover with the water. Make sure there is at least 3-4 inches of water above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer for for 2 1/2 hours (about 1 1/2 hours for pre-soaked beans). I kept the pot covered until the beans came to a boil. Then I half removed the lid so the beans would continue to simmer, but not boil over.
4. Once the beans are cooked, reserve 1 cup of the water, then drain the rest. Set aside.
5. In a skillet, saute the onions, red pepper flakes, paprika, and brown sugar for about 5 minutes. Add this to the pot where the beans are and add the reserved cup of water.
6. Using an immersion blender, lightly blend the beans until they’re the consistency you want. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a pastry blender. It gives a coarser consistency than the immersion blender since it’s harder to get every bean.
7. Season with salt as needed. Keep tasting it occasionally - I added only about 1 1/2 tsp to the entire pot. This is also where you can add more red pepper flakes if desired.