If you only had chilled canned beans, this should be the next recipe you cook. Homemade chilled beans change the game. They are easy to prepare and when you have them on hand, it is easy to put meals together for days. Think of tacos, tostadas, chilaquiles and bean dips of the next level. There are many opinions on how to make chilled beans. I just say this: when I'm home alone and there is no one else to eat, I cook it like this. This version is so incredibly good that I usually only enjoy it with a spoon. But it's also so easy that I do I didn't think of sharing the recipe here until some of you asked when you saw me cooking in one of my stories recently. Let's go!
My Refried Bean technique
The way I cook chilled beans is fairly simple, although I do have a few somewhat unconventional movements that I stand by. I like my beans with depth and taste while still keeping some brightness and lightness. I use just the right amount of olive oil to cook well chopped onions with the beans and lots of broth. Smoked peppers add a hint of smoky depth that you can't put a finger on while things stay vegetarian. My secret ingredient is a final dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I think it's the element that helps keep the beans from appearing too heavy, and the acidity counteracts the strength of the beans. Don't skimp on lemon juice.
Good beans are important
I feel like a broken record. You hear that from me every time I present a bean recipe. Try to buy dried beans from a source that has good sales. You don't want to buy a bag of dusty, sad beans that's been on the shelf too long. Large sections of grocery stores often move quickly through their beans and legumes or keep an eye out for dried beans at local farmers' markets, cooperatives, and the like. Or search for heirloom beans online – there are so many wonderful, beautiful varieties. I'm using pinto beans here, but you can certainly discover other types of beans – black beans, cranberry beans, etc. Play around!
Mash before cooking
One last thing I'll mention before we get to the recipe. Many people like to crush their beans at the end of the cooking process, but I usually do it at the beginning. That way, it's less messy, you're not working on a hot burner, and I find it easier to get the right consistency. I'll mention it below, a potato masher is great for that. Any mashing tool: a pestle in a bowl, a large fork, whatever can crush beans. A few pulses with a hand blender can work, too, but I like the consistency you get when you do it by hand, and there is no additional device for washing.
I hope you try this! They are truly one of my favorite simple culinary delights. And if you're looking for other bean inspiration, I wrote this post on how to cook tender, creamy, and near-perfect beans using a simple, long, low-temperature cooking method. Enjoy!