Guatemalan Refried Black Beans
According to my husband, I don’t even need this blog anymore. He claims he is content eating black beans every day for ther rest of his life. I guess it his comfort food. My husband’s Guatemalan grandmother would make this recipe quite often, and I was honored to have the chance to learn it from my mother-in-law last summer. She remembers cooking along side her “suegra” and learning the tricks of making refried beans. This morning my oatmeal stash was gone, so we decided to eat a Central American breakfast of rice, beans and eggs. We wrapped the leftover black beans in a brown rice tortilla with some scrambled eggs made with almond milk. What a treat!
Here is how you can make beans from scratch (or you can substitute with canned beans and skip the soaking overnight)
- 2 cups of dry black beans
- 2 tsp. cumin (optional)
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2- 1 whole onion (whatever suits your taste)
- olive or vegetable oil
Soak 2 cups of beans overnight. I like to use a mason jar and just leave it out on the counter to remind myself to cook them the next day. The next morning pour off the water you soaked them in and rinse them well. Put the beans (they will still feel a little hard) in a pan and fill the pan with water. Bring them to a boil and let them boil gently for about 40-60 min. until they are soft. (I do this right when I wake up and they are usually ready when I leave for work). You can add a clove or two of garlic in with the beans as they boil for taste. Once softened, I usually drain them, let them cool, and save them until later in the fridge when I am ready for the next part of the process. Some people use this brown liquid that I throw away for a soup! (anyone know a recipe?)
This is where you start from if you are using canned beans:
About 30 min. before you are ready to sit down, mince the garlic, chop the onion and add them to a pan (big enough to add the beans to) with some olive oil. Add cumin and salt and mix it all around with the garlic & onion. Take a food mill and begin to process the softened black beans through the food mill right into where you sauteed the garlic. Stir as you go. I keep the heat on low here and keep stirring so it won’t burn. My mother-in-law even said she sometimes would process the onion through the food mill, but it gets stuck in mine. This is the messy part of the preparation!
When all the beans are added you can serve them up like this (all brown and mushy), or re-fry them in a little oil in a cast-iron pan. The longer you re-fry them, the drier they become. Traditional Guatemalan meals include the beans served up in a “log” form, shaped after a lot of oil has been added. I prefer to skip this part and just eat them once they are softened from the food mill.
Serve with tortillas, on rice, or even with a hard taco shell. We eat ours with a bit of feta cheese sprinkled over the top with a tortilla, cilantro, and a large green salad. These black beans last a few days in the fridge and can be re-heated for a breakfast burrito or another evening meal. ¡Buen Provecho!
Here is a typical food mill: