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Nov 4, 2006 05:57 PM

Crockpot helpful for Refried Beans?

Maybe I'm "the only one" (Never!)but I do not have a crock pot, nor have i used one. As I go into my 2nd hour of stirring refried beans every 10 minutes to get them thick enough without burning, i'm wondering about a crockpot. does it have the ability to cook like a bain marie so that one wouldn't need to stir constantly to get a thick mass? i am a quantity-cooking chef; do they come big enough to do 4-6 qts of product? thanks much.

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  1. No, you are still going to have to stir occasionally because the will tend to crust around the sides.

    I always liked my grandmother's refried beans (refritos really means well cooked) she would cook up frijoles and then put them in a heavy iron skillet with lard and mash and cook with a potato masher. They were lumpier than the pureed canned stuff but oh so good.

    1. Are you maybe starting with really thin bean broth? Cuz I cook my beans in the crockpot or stove-top, and when soft I mash randomly with the potato masher. At that point they are pretty dry- so if I choose to "re-fry" (bacon fat is a winner), I usually use the wok or large cast iron skillet cuz of large surface area and it does not take too long- just alot of elbow action for a bit. The point I thought of refritos was the unctuousness(if that is a word) and not any kind of crust.

      4 Replies
      1. re: torty

        If your cooked beans are really brothy, can you scoop out some broth and reduce separately? I do my beans overnight in a slow oven and they come out pretty dry, but that's probably not practical for a restaurant.

        1. re: Aromatherapy

          that sounds smart, but i can't imagine their having the same amount of flavor that they would if they were constantly stirred and making contact with the liquid? i use a lot of flavoring in my beans; not authentic but i prefer them that way.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Don't really see your point--they end up mashed, right? I do the basic cooking with salt, and then the "refrying" part doesn't take long if they're not really wet. I don't discard any soaking or cooking liquid (don't soak), so no bean flavor gets thrown out. Truth to tell, I usually just mash them (gotta save calories someplace) and they have plenty flavor.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              I don't understand the concept of making refried beans the way you describe. As Candy mentioned, 'frijoles refritos' simply means well FRIED beans, not beans mushed in their own liquid.

              Use good flavorful lard, amount depending on the amount of beans you want to cook. For enough beans for four medium servings, I usually use a tablespoon or a bit more. Let the lard melt in a heavy skillet, add cooked beans and a little bean liquor, allow the beans to heat well, and start mashing. Add more bean liquor as needed, or more beans if you started with too much of the beans' cooking liquid. Mash the beans till they are as smooth as you like them. Salt to taste. Serve with a hunk of queso cotija on the side, to crumble over the beans.

              I can't even imagine using a crockpot--like you, I've never owned or wanted one.