In Mexico refried beans are traditionally made with manteca de cerdo (pork lard), but Gramm preferred to use bacon fat. She had a small canister on the stove where she saved any and all bacon drippings just for that purpose. Both bacon fat and manteca add tons of flavor, but you can also use vegetable oil.
My grandmother's refried beans were known for being creamy and cheesy. That's because she always added a splash of milk and lots of shredded mozzarella cheese. Over the years, I've switched things up a little by substituting Mexican crema for the milk, which makes the beans even creamier, and using mozzarella's Mexican cousin, Queso Oaxaca. I also like to add a little spice by sautéing a fresh serrano chile pepper in the bacon fat before adding the beans.
Refried beans can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner... And not just as a side dish. You can serve them in Tacos de Frijoles, Molletes (open-faced refried bean sandwiches), or Bean & Cheese Enchiladas, just to name a few dishes.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons bacon fat, lard, or vegetable oil
- 1 fresh serrano pepper (optional)
- 3 cups Frijoles de la Olla (cooked pinto beans)
- 1 cup bean broth
- 3 tablespoons Mexican crema or sour cream
- 1 cup shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
Heat bacon drippings or oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fresh serrano pepper, whole or sliced, and saute until the skin on the pepper begins to blister. Carefully add the cooked beans, bean broth, and Mexican crema. Let simmer until beans come to a boil. Using a potato masher, mash the beans until desired consistency; season with salt.
Continue cooking the beans for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the beans thicken slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Serve refried beans with warm corn or flour tortillas and Chile de Molcajete (roasted tomatillo & arbol chile salsa). Enjoy!
Receta en Español