There’s no escaping Tex-Mex if you live in Southwestern US. While there is plenty of mediocre Tex-Mex on offer (think “On The Border” and “Blue Goose”), genius does exist, you just have to look for it. One of the bedrocks of Tex-Mex are refried beans – Pinto Beans slow cooked with spices. The only problem for vegetarians is that often these are cooked in lard, a big problem especially if your mission in life is to try and keep the lard on the pig rather than off it.
The solution is to look for places that use vegetable shortening or oil for cooking refried beans or to make them yourself. The recipe below works very well. I don’t claim that it is authentic. It is not. But it tastes very good and works well with Tex Mex food. You can use these beans in Tacos, Enchiladas or just as a side.
Apologies once again for the approximate measures. I usually wing this one. Hard to go wrong.
INGREDIENTS (Enough for 12-14 Tacos)
1 1/2 cups dry Pinto Beans
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 chopped red onion
2-3 cloves of garlic – minced
1 can of Rotel – Tomatoes and Green Chilis
1-2 Tbsp Fajita Seasoning
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp ground roasted cumin
Juice of 1/2 lime (add more if you like)
1. Soak the beans overnight in water (cover them completely and then some).
2. Pressure cook the beans with a Bay Leaf and set aside. If you don’t have a Pressure Cooker, no worries, we will use the soaked beans later.
3. Heat the oil in a stockpot and add the chopped onion and garlic.
4. Saute till translucent and add the can of Rotel.
5. Add the cooked (or uncooked beans) and turn to medium heat.
6. Add the seasoning, cumin powder and salt to taste(you can go easy on the salt if you are using uncooked beans at this point).
7. Turn to low heat and cook till the beans are soft (if you are using precooked beans, cook till the beans are mashable). You may need to add water periodically.
8. Mash the beans in the stockpot using a masher.
9. Adjust the salt. Add the lime juice. You are done.