Friday, May 4, 2012

Prepping for Cinco de Mayo - Healthier Lime "Refried Beans" #Recipe

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and our home is filled with delicious smells for our family celebration. We will be enjoying Sopes filled with this healthier lime refried beans, veggies and queso fresco with a flan for dessert. Today I will busy posting the recipes so you can enjoy this feast with us.

First up is a super simple and healthier refried beans recipe. It is surprisingly frugal,simple and takes very little hands-on time. The secret is to start with dried beans and cook them in the crock pot.

I have made this recipe using both pinto beans or black beans. This time around I actually used a combination of both and it turned out great.

The hardest part is remembering to soak the beans overnight. But, there is still plenty of time to throw this together for tomorrow to enjoy with your family.

I was never much of a refried beans fan as a child. At a restaurant I usually ate the melted cheese off the top and pushed the rest around and around on my plate till it was time to leave. They were often bland or salty, but nothing exciting. That is why I enjoy cooking, I like being in charge of herbs and spices used.

Lime is the secret behind this great bean dish. The lime juice and zest help to brighten it up and add a depth I think was missing from my childhood version. It also does an amazing job of cutting down on the salt needed to season it. Salt is often added into dishes where flavor is lacking, but when you add a simple acid it isn't needed anymore.

Lime Refried Beans

You will need:
3 c. dried beans (pinto, black or a mixture of both)
1 c. chicken stock
1 medium onion, quartered
6 cloves of garlic, smashed but whole
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. lime zest
canola oil for the pan
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse, sort and soak the dried beans in a bowl overnight (8 hours or so)

Drain the beans and add them to a crock pot along with the stock, onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Add enough water to just cover the beans. Turn the crock pot on for 4 hours on high.

When beans are done they should be tender but not mushy. I remove the onion and strain the beans out into a large bowl. Reserve the bean water to achieve the right consistency. With a potato masher or immersion blender process the beans. The immersion blender will require you to use some of the reserved bean water to get started. Add water  a ladle-ful at a time as you process. I like to leave some lumps in mine.

Stir in the lime juice and zest. Place a small amount of canola oil in a large skillet and heat. Add the beans to the skillet and warm through . Watch that the beans do not dry out to much, but I like them to get a little crisp around the edges.

At this point you can either refrigerate until needed or serve immediately. Top with queso fresco and sliced green scallions for garnish or use in another recipe like my sopes.
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