Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homemade Refried Beans

I've mentioned before that I tend to hang on to everything. My sister is always encouraging me to de-clutter my house by getting rid of anything I'm not using. I donate a lot, every month we have stuff to give away, but my argument for keeping some things is that maybe someday I can repair or re-purpose them. And it does happen... occasionally.

Last night my teen and I were gathered around the kitchen island developing a recipe for homemade re-fried beans. We would add an ingredient, pulse the processor, taste the result and repeat. About halfway into the recipe I pushed the button to combine the most recent addition and the processor did not whir into action. I unplugged it, plugged it back in, pushed every button combination possible, and still nothing. Normally, at this point I would lovingly pack up the machine and find a spot for it in my Appliance Graveyard, also known as the garage, hoping to have it repaired in the future. But this time I decided I was just going to face the fact that I'll never get it repaired, because it's already 10 years old and I'd probably have better luck just buying a new model. So, I picked up the heavy, motor-containing base and hauled it straight to the 96 gallon garbage can that had just been emptied that morning.
It made an awful bang and a crunch as it hit bottom. I hate to admit that the sound was sort of satisfying, since after all, it was its fault that I'll be mashing and stirring by hand for another 30 minutes. But at the same time I felt a pang of guilt for not giving my faithful KitchenAid processor its rightful spot on the retired appliance shelf.

Of course, there's no turning back now, so I returned to the kitchen for the accessories and tossed them in, with slightly less aggression.
Now, washed up and back to mixing, my teen and I discussed the sadness I felt over the sudden loss of my food processor. Okay, he looked at me like he was evaluating which level of security I'd qualify for in the loony bin, as I babbled on about how it had been a good machine for all these years, but it had a couple things I didn't totally love, but it always made a great pie crust...
Finally, the mixing was over. We had tasted and adjusted the re-fried beans to our liking, and now it was time to make some cheese and bean tostadas. I pulled my favorite (20 year old) griddle down from the top of the fridge and plugged it in at the kitchen island. I turned the dial to 375° and... nothing. No light, no heat, nothing.

I looked at Nick with saucers for eyes and he began to laugh. In between near hysterical squawks he managed to get out something like, "What are the chances that you would blow up two appliances in one night?!"
That's when I felt the shock on my face turn to complete horror, as I realized what had just happened. I looked back at him and repeated what he had said, emphasizing the TWO appliances part. His laughing stopped abruptly and his face mirrored the horror on mine for just a moment before changing to something that can only be described as resignation. He got up from the island and calmly said, "I'll go get it."

Just three dumpster diving trips, a couple scrapes on his torso and one on his arm, and we had all the parts and pieces back. You don't want to know what the processor looked like, but note that it cleaned up well and believe it or not, still works like a champ! As does Nick... well, the clean up part anyway. We moved the griddle to another outlet, crisped up a few corn tortillas, spread them with our Trip the Breaker Re-Fried Beans, topped it all off with shredded cheese and slipped them under the broiler until the cheese melted. Delicious, nutritious and an exercise in temperance!

Homemade Refried Beans (Gluten Free)

2 cups dried pinto beans
1 1/2-2 cups chicken stock
2-4 cups water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons onions, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

Sort through dried beans and remove any pebbles, off-colored beans or debris. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Put beans in crock pot, add chicken stock and enough water to cover beans by about 3 inches. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until tender.
Drain beans, but reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid and set aside. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooked beans and place the rest into food processor (or a large bowl to mash by hand). Pulse a few times and then add oil; process to incorporate. Add tomato paste, vinegar, onion, jalapeno, garlic, salt, cumin and chili powder; process until smooth and combined. Add reserved beans and pulse a couple times; just enough to break them up. Serve as desired.


  1. WOW!!! What a story; I laughed and I almost cried because I know exactly how ou felt when one of our appliances dies. It was a happy ending; so happy you were able to retrieve it; love your teenager; he sounds like kind of kid. Great recipe!

  2. I can totally laugh about it now, but you know how it is. Definitely not funny when it happened! LOL
    I do have a pretty good kid. :)
    Thanks, Rita!


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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License