I'm a big fan of Mexican food. I love the spices and the flavors, and find myself incorporating chilies, cumin and oregano into many of the dishes I prepare. That being said however, I'm not really all that fond of super-hot Mexican food. I like some heat, but it's more the flavor behind the heat, and the way that heat intensifies the flavor of the food that I find so appetizing and appealing. I also really, really like refried beans, made any way. I can eat them straight from the can (any brand) and I order them as a side every time I eat Mexican. When it comes to comfort food, they're the mashed potatoes of Mexican cuisine. Recently I've experimented with making my own from dried pinto beans and have finally come up with a recipe that really tickles my taste buds. And.... the crock pot does all the work!
Homemade Refried Beans
1 lb dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 TBSP olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 Anaheim chili peppers, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 cups chicken broth (plus or minus)
salt and pepper
Drain and rinse soaked beans and place in crock pot.
Saute onions, peppers, garlic, oregano and cumin in olive oil until vegetables are softened. Add to crock pot. Add water to cover an inch or two above the level of the beans. Cover crock pot and set level to high. Cook for four hours, checking occasionally to make sure water level is sufficient. Add more water if needed. Turn setting to low and add salt, pepper and enough chicken broth to keep the liquid level over the beans. Continue cooking at this setting for another 6-8 hours, adding broth as needed, until beans have completely softened and started to break apart. Mash with potato masher, using more broth if needed.
Serve topped with cheese of your choice, sour cream, and diced jalapeno pepper, if desired.