Reach for your crockpot and some dried beans rather than your can-opener the next time you're in the mood for some delicious and inexpensive refried beans. A one pound bag of pinto beans (usually available for $1 or less) will make around 5 cups of beany goodness. You can add cheese and a little fat to your beans at the end, or enjoy the simple, extra healthy version.
The recipe calls for cooking half a pound at a time, but you can easily double it if you want to make more at once.
Chop. Optional. Chop half a large onion, 2 cloves garlic.
Combine. In a crockpot, combine 1/2 lb (226g) dried pinto beans, 3 cups water and (if using) the chopped onion and garlic.
Spice. Optional. If desired, add: 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, a dash cayenne pepper and EITHER a chicken bouillon cube OR some salt.
Cook. Cook on low for 4-8 hours. If you are around, stir once half way through and again 3/4 through. If you still have too much liquid left as the end of your cooking time approaches, crank the heat to high and leave the lid open a crack to let excess water evaporate.
Your beans should look like this when they are done cooking:
Mash. Use a potato masher, fork or an emersion blender to mash the beans to the desired consistency.
Stir-Ins. Optional. Stir in 2-4oz of shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon butter/margarine/spread and/or sour cream to taste.
Makes around 2.5 cups.
Mashing is optional. You could also just leave them as is.
This method works with other kinds of beans too. Black, red & navy beans are a good place to start experimenting.
Vegetable bouillon can be substituted for chicken for a vegetarian option, or the bouillon can omitted completely.
Use a lot of sour cream to make a refried bean dip.