Saturday, November 3, 2012

Things to Put in Things: Unfried Refried Beans

J and I love Mexican.  We eat it a lot when we go to visit his family in the States.  You know, where people eat Mexican food.  As opposed to where we live where there is no Mexican.  As a result, we eat tacos and their ilk at home on a fairly regular basis.  I buy Rotel and Pace picante sauce to bring home and help in my quest for yummy Mexican.  I think I have some enchilada sauce as well right now after not being able to find it for the enchilada soup earlier this year.
So on one of my many cruises of Pinterest, I found a pin for Unfried Refried beans in the crockpot.  You know, ones that taste waaaay better than those that come out of a can and smell'm not even sure.
Then I was cruising Pinterest and I discovered the blog Budget Bytes and her black bean quesadillas.  Upon further poking around, I found her recipe for the same.  Today, I made them.
I present to you now my hybrid of Six Sisters and Budget Bytes Unfried Refried Beans in the Crockpot:

1 lb. dry black beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, pressed (I actually used dried.  If you're going to go that route, use the good stuff.  I read some bad things about using garlic powder.  I use Penzey's dried garlic instead of fresh regularly.  It worked here)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
6 cups liquid (I used a mix of chicken broth that I needed to use up in my fridge and water)
1 tbsp salt


1.  Rinse and pick over the beans.  Put everything except the salt in the crockpot.  Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours.  When beans are soft, remove as much liquid as you can from the pot (This is important.  Learn from my mistake). 

2.  Mash the beans with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender.  (I was happier with the blender.  Apparently if you remove the liquid, you need to re-add some liquid to get the consistency right.)  Also remember that this will set up as it cools, so leave a little looser than you'd want so you don't have cement. 

3.  Stir in salt, 1 tsp at a time to taste.  Adding the salt at the beginning makes the beans tough, and means that you have to add more than you do at the end.  
Adapted from Budget Bytes and Six Sisters' Stuff

 I weighed my beans because I bought in bulk.  Being off a little is okay.  Off a lot, not so much.  Everything went into the crock pot and J and I sat down for a pile of football.  At the end of the third quarter in the Michigan State game, I started to mash, and then remembered that I was to take off liquid, so I got about a cup or so out of the pot and then gave up.  After using the immersion blender, I had this:

Really yummy smelling black bean soup that was in need of salt.  So I salted, and tried to decide what to do.  Add salsa, pour it in a bowl and call it soup?  Then I remembered the magic of reduction and the fact that this thickens as it cools.  I left the lid off and the pot on high, and stirred every so often.
By the end of second overtime in the Notre Dame Game, I had what I wanted.  Something to put in wraps.

I got 2 2-cup containers of beans out of this for dip or burritos later.  They went straight in the freezer.  The rest became a base for black bean and steak wraps.  I spread a layer of my freshly made beans on a whole wheat tortilla, and then topped with a few strips of steak that I had sliced thin and browned before adding taco seasoning and water.  I topped with sour cream, Pace, and shredded cheese.
Filling and delicious.  And I have 2 more containers to do something with.  Yum.

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