DIY: Refried Beans with Bacon

Mexican food has got to be my favorite type of food to eat out! Fresh tortilla chips and cilantro-y salsa, tableside guacamole, and refried beans always make me giddy!

I know, right? Refried beans??  Most people pass on them…even turn their noses up at the blob of brown goop on their plates but I love, love, love refried beans!  I’m not sure I can explain why but they are definitely a side dish I’ve been wanting to make at home for a long time, especially since I love making bean and cheese burritos on high fiber tortillas for my work lunches with the leftovers from the canned refried beans we buy from time to time.  I guess I never really knew how incredibly easy they are to make at home until I tried them out recently.

And I’ll tell you right now, I swear I’ll never, ever go back to buying the canned stuff again after trying this recipe.  The amount of chopping of ingredients is minimal and essentially, in about 15 minutes, you’ll have yourself a pan of your very own homemade refried beans.  These beans are fully of bacony goodness but you can pull out some or all of the cooked bacon before adding the beans to the pan if you want to cut down on some of the calories and I’ll likely do this the next time I make this recipe.  The important thing about these beans, though, is that they are cooked in the bacon drippings…that is, after all, what makes them refried.  Either way, if you’re as big of a fan of Mexican food (authentic or other) and beans of all types like I am, you’ll love these refried beans just as much as I do.

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Mashed Pinto Beans with Bacon (Refried Beans)
source: Elly Says Opa

2 strips bacon, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
2-3 Tbsp. shredded or grated manchego cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
sliced scallions or chopped cilantro

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the bacon. Fry until the bacon is cooked and starting to crisp. If you are using excessively fatty bacon, you may want to pour off some of the drippings. Otherwise, leave everything in there as-is.

To the pan, add the onion and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic until fragrant, and then the chicken broth, cumin, beans, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the mixture to a light boil and continue to simmer for 10 minutes (or for as long as you want, if you want to time it with your main dish).

Use a potato masher to press down on the beans, and mash to your desired consistency (adding more broth if necessary).

Once plated, top with the cheese and sliced scallions or cilantro.

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