Mashed Pinto Beans with Bacon and Manchego (Refried Beans?)

January 17, 2010 · 23 comments

in beans and legumes,mexican/tex-mex

I don’t really like refried beans…or, so I thought.

When I eat at a Mexican restaurant, I’ll typically ask them to substitute black beans (if possible) or just take a few bites of the refried beans on my plate (the bites with the cheese, of course).  I’ve just never found them particularly flavorful and I think I’m also a little turned off by the texture.   That was, of course, until I made my own refried beans…which I didn’t realize at the time were refried beans.

Drawing up my menu for the week, I wrote this side dish I had dreamed up in my head as “mashed pinto beans with bacon.” This got me wondering how exactly refried beans are made and it turns out that, well, they’re not exactly refried.  In actuality, most refried beans call for pan-frying beans in some type of fat (oil, lard, bacon), which is what makes them refried. Well, actually it’s what makes them “well-fried.” According to Rick Bayless, “refried” is just a poor translation. So, it looks like what I’ve made here really are refried beans but with some added flavors, manchego cheese, and I’ve kept the bacon right in there rather than just using drippings. As for the texture, when you make these at home  you can control that far better than what you eat when you’re out, so I made mine a little thicker and chunkier.  We absolutely loved these, and it’s nice to have a new bean side dish in the rotation instead of eating black beans all the time!

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