Sunday, May 4, 2014

Refried Beans (Slow Cooker)

I've finally found a great recipe for slow cooker refried beans (and obviously, I had to share it).  I've tried several recipes but for something simple, it seemed like the other recipes just weren't quite right. But this recipe works.   I think the secret here is that you boil the pinto beans for about 15 minutes before hand (which I think helps the pinto beans cook faster and more evenly).  This recipe also has a small (but delicious) ingredient list - a few spices, salt, beans, onions, garlic, jalapeno and vinegar.  I even forgot the vinegar the last time I made this and honestly didn't notice!

So in case you couldn't tell, we love this recipe. It's easy, healthy and delicious.  This is probably the fourth time I've made this in the past few months (which is saying a lot for me).  I love it as a side dish for all kinds of meals - Mexican (obviously) but we last had it alongside some fish, corn and a salad, which was delicious.  Then my one year old recently finished off the leftovers with scrambled eggs, sauteed bell peppers and guacamole.  I was pretty jealous, I must admit.  I'm going to have to make that for the whole family soon!

PS - Have you noticed that my pictures are no longer safe from a certain toddler? She's quite the help these days!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Taken from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Makes about 8 cups
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, rinsed, remove any stones or shriveled beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or same amount of liquid from a jar of jalapenos or banana peppers

  1. Rinse beans and place in a medium or large saucepan and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring the beans and water to a boil and cover, cooking for 15 minutes (be aware that the beans will expand as they absorb water and cook so make sure your pan isn't overly full to begin with).
  2. Remove from the heat and drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in the slow cooker insert and cover them with about 2 inches of water. Add the salt, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. When the beans are tender, ladle out about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Drain the beans and veggies in a colander until most of the liquid is gone but there are still a few drips (you don't want the beans bone dry).
  4. Place the beans and veggies and 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a food processor or blender (you may need to do this in batches).  Or if you have an immersion hand blender, you can put the beans and veggies back into the slow cooker, add the vinegar and blend in there.  
  5. Add about 1/4 cup of the leftover liquid (more if needed).  Blend to your desired consistency (we like ours a little on the chunkier side).  Taste the beans and add additional salt or spices, if needed.
  6. Serve and enjoy! If you want to freeze any leftovers, let the refried beans cool and then spoon them in 1-2 cup amounts into freezer ziploc bags, press them flat, remove as much air as possible and seal.


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