Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fun with Refried Beans

I’ve been on a kick to bring down cholesterol and fat in general…  I love refried beans as an anchor for any kind of Mexican type meal whether in as a side dish with rice or as part of a recipe.  Using a mixture of beans gives wonderful flavor and is a great way to use up the odds and ends of legumes you have hanging around.  This recipe is inspired by my pressure cooking hero, Lorna Sass, who I could not cook without.  This recipe is lightened up with the vegetables and does not include any extra fat, other than what you’ll need in the pressure cooker.  You may do this on top of the stove in a large heavy bottomed soup pot, simmering on low until the beans are soft 2 to 3 hours, in which case you may eliminate the olive oil.

1 lb 13 bean soup mix or mixture of any beans you have on hand
2 lg carrots cut half
2 lg celery stalks
1 onion, cut in rough pieces
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Korean ground red pepper (optional)
1 tea Kosher alt

Rinse the bean mix and place in a large bow.  Cover with enough boiling water to cover by 2”.  Let sit for an hour. 
Drain the bean mixture and put in a 6 qt pressure cooker along with 8 cups of water and the rest of the ingredients along with 8 cups of water.  Close the lid and bring to full pressure then turn heat down to low, cooking for 35 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the pressure release naturally.  Once the pressure is released, ladle the liquid remaining on top of the beans into a separate container.  The idea is to keep the thicker liquid with the beans to make the final dish.  Reserve for another use (vegetable stock, etc.).  Discard the bay leaves. 
Transfer the beans, vegetables, and cooking liquid to a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan.  Using a potato masher, smash up the beans and vegetables until uniform.  No need for precision, a rough mash will do.  Heat over medium low heat stirring frequently.  Gently simmer until thick.  Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. 

I love these for brunch in tostadas:

Brunch Tostadas

½ c grape tomato or other tomato chopped,
¼ c bell pepper, chopped
2 tbs cilantro, chopped
1 scallion, sliced
4 large eggs
1 ½ c 13 Refried Beans or your favorite refried beans
4 corn tortillas
¼ c shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

Mix the grape tomato, bell pepper, cilantro, and scallion in a bowl.  Set aside.
Heat a large saucepan filled with about ¾” water until simmering.  Gently crack each egg into a small bowl, then slide gently into the simmering water, swirling the water with a slotted spoon.  Cover the pan and turn off the heat.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  When ready to serve, gently lift each egg out with a slotted spoon and carefully drain on a clean towel or paper towel.
In the meantime, heat the 13 Refried Beans in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
Heat the tortillas over a flame or in a dry skillet.
To assemble:  Place 2 tortillas on a plate,  top with a dollop of the beans.  Sprinkle with a bit of the cheese.  Top each tortilla with a poached egg and the tomato mixture.  Serve with hot sauce.

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