Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Style "Refried" Beans

So I keep thinking "how many more ways can there be to make beans"?

Apparently at least one more.

Now take a close look at the picture. Think to yourself "Are these re-fried?" No, they are not. I put the word in " " because I chose to use this recipe for its components, but chose not to re-fry them.

Now that the details are out of the way... these are my favorite beans to date! The sauce they make is thick and the flavor is out of this world!
Confession time - I have never made beans that included a "meat ingredient". A smoked turkey wing provided a depth that has been missing from past bean recipes - yes, a turkey wing. I wasnt ready to use a ham hock and it's higher fat count. But after using the turkey, I'm not sure the hock is necessary.

The other "magic" is cooking the beans with a pot full of cilantro. It permeated its aroma into the simmering beans where it remained while they were being consumed!

Served with brown rice and the syrupy sauce or drained over a great salad, these beans are the current winner in our house.
At least until I make the recipe on deck for next week!

New Style Refried Beans
(Frijoles Refritos Estilo Nuevo by Daisy Martinez)
NOTE: I reprinted this recipe as written, not as I made it.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small Spanish onion, cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, whacked with -- the side of a knife and peeled
1 pound dried black beans
1 smoked ham hock or smoked turkey wing
1 bunch cilantro, washed
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good quality tortilla chips, for serving
Thinly sliced red radishes, for serving, optional

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, ham hock, and cilantro. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Toss in the bay leaves and bring the water to a boil, then adjust the heat so it is boiling gently. Cook the beans until tender, about 2 hours. Keep an eye on the beans; they should always be covered by liquid. When the liquid meets the level of the beans, top it off with cold water. Toward the end of cooking, ease up on the liquid you add; the goal is to have the beans barely covered with liquid by the time they're tender.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Discard the turkey wing or ham hock and the bay leaves. (Leave the cilantro in with the beans.) Put the bean mixture in a food processor and process, gradually adding enough of the reserved liquid, until the beans are the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the beans on a platter and garnish with tortilla chips and radish slices, if using. (The beans can be prepared up to 30 minutes in advance. Return the beans to the saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.)

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