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proper refried beans

tatamagouche Jul 11, 2008 11:19 AM

Maybe refried beans are the Mexican equivalent of polenta, I don't know. But just as polenta runs along a spectrum from (to put it strongly) pudding to cornbread (with the former being what you find more commonly in northern Italy), refried beans, at least here in Denver, range from near-paste to something like baked beans in terms of consistency.

Is one style more traditional than another, more correct than another? Is it a regional difference? Etc.


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  1. g
    gsshark RE: tatamagouche Jul 11, 2008 03:13 PM

    Refried beans are not difficult to make, but I have seen the same thing here in Sacramento. I attribute it to the cook not caring all that much about the finished product. When I make beans (the way my mother and her mother made them) I follow the recipe below (until this year, none of these recipes were written down, so you're getting the benefit of at least four generations of Mexican cooking experience). Basically the "trick" to good refried beans is to realize that the beans will set up once they cool, so you don't want to cook them to the "paste" stage, otherwise you'll get something like the cornbread you mentioned. I'm thinking if you get beans that look baked beans, then all you're getting is cooked beans, not refried. Refried beans, at least in my experience should look like pudding that won't set (they should run a little on the plate if hot, but if allowed to set in the pan, they they won't run. Try the recipe for yourself, and let me know what adjustments you'd make...

    Cooked Beans

    2 – 3 cups dry pinto or cranberry beans
    enough water to cover by 2 inches
    salt to taste

    Bring about 5 cups water to boil in a 3 quart sauce pan. As water is coming to a boil, add two large pinches of salt. Leave the water to come to a boil.

    Place the beans in a colander or mesh strainer. Rinse under cold running water and pick through for small stones and beans that appear bad (deep wrinkles, off color, holes, etc.). When done rinsing, put beans in boiling water, bring water back to a boil, then set to simmer and cover, cooking until beans are tender (times vary, depending on the bean, pinto beans cook faster than cranberry beans).

    Check the beans every 30 minutes for three things: 1) Doneness of the beans (sample one, there should be no resistance when you bite into it, but is should not be mushy/mealy, use your judgment – al dente pasta is OK, but al dente beans make for difficult refritos), and 2) check the water level to make sure there is at least an inch of water covering the beans (slightly more in the beginning process, as the beans will absorb much of the water as they cook). 3) Check the saltiness of the water, is should have the slightest hint of being salted; if too salty, add more water, if it tastes like just “bean water” add another large pinch or two of salt.

    When the beans are done, turn off the heat and leave covered until ready to refry.


    In a hot 9 or 10 inch skillet, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom (about 1/8th inch), heat oil through.

    With a slotted spoon, pull as many beans as you can from the saucepan, allow to strain, then add to the oil (it will sizzle and splatter slightly so be careful) add another two or three spoonfuls of beans and mash with a potato masher or a large fork. If it looks like the beans are too dry, add some of the water from the beans, a little at a time (I usually add a couple of tablespoons just to add flavor and reduce the amount of oil I use). If the beans look too wet, or if it seems there is too much oil, add more beans, a half spoonful at a time.

    As you continue to mash the beans, about 2 minutes, they should begin bubbling (imagine hot lava bubbling up), and should still be slightly “runny”. Turn off the heat and let stand. The beans will set up as they cool, so don’t cook them until they are firm, or they’ll be too stiff to be appetizing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gsshark
      bkhuna RE: gsshark Jul 11, 2008 05:11 PM

      Pretty standard way of making good beans except for the canola oil. I prefer making them with bacon drippings. Just a couple of large tablespoons will suffice and it adds a wonderful flavor to the beans.

      I also like to put a little crumbled queso blanco on the top when serving.

    2. p
      Pampatz RE: tatamagouche Jul 11, 2008 07:24 PM

      I agree with gsshark and bkhuna. Refritos should be soft, almost runny when plated.

      When we are in Patzcuaro, I use Peruana beans and fresh lard. The Peruanas cook up to a light pinkish tan color and have a wonderful flavor. In Denver, I skip the lard. Very hard to find fresh lard here. I use bacon grease instead.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Pampatz
        BerkshireTsarina RE: Pampatz Jul 21, 2008 07:03 PM

        You don't have to be in Patzcuaro to cook those delicious Peruana beans. Goya carries them dried, they call them Canarios, or Canary beans; but they're Peruanas. And they taste just as good by another name, unlike Juliet's rose. (Or is it Romeo's? Anyway!)

        1. re: BerkshireTsarina
          Sam Fujisaka RE: BerkshireTsarina Jul 21, 2008 07:39 PM

          I mentioned this before: the US marketing and then demand for canario displaced over 200 traditional bean varieties in the Cajamarca, Peru, area.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            saltwater RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 21, 2008 08:11 PM

            Who is eating the peruano beans in the US? I would assume immigrants from where the bean originates? I've only ever seen those beans in a market that serves an immigrant population. I don't live in an upscale area. Maybe they are available and popular in upscale places.

            In fact, I just saw them the other day, when out looking to see if they carried the mysterious Flor de Mayo. The peruano seemed slightly expensive, though beans have been rising in price, annoyingly. I'd never seen a peruano before, and I almost bought them to try out. I was caught by an attack of frugality.

            1. re: saltwater
              Eat_Nopal RE: saltwater Jul 21, 2008 08:17 PM

              Most Peruanos in the U.S. are actually grown in Mexico where it has become a very popular variety in the last decade.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                saltwater RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 21, 2008 08:38 PM

                Yes, I think the package that I had examined was from Mexico. It wasn't one of the standard suspects (goya, la preferida, etc.). It is interesting how food from one place becomes popular in another place, and then ends up being sold to those people when they move somewhere else. Then someone like me, who has never seen them before, walks into the market and possibly tries them because they are on an end cap. Food is just plain cool.

              2. re: saltwater
                Sam Fujisaka RE: saltwater Jul 21, 2008 09:24 PM

                The canario came from northern Peru and is now grown in many areas. I've never eaten canarios in Peru. It is relatively unknown by Peruvian or Andean consumers.

                Cajamarca is a center of origin of beans. In 1995, my team collected, planted out, identified, got local names and characteristics, assessed agronomic properties of 218 separate beans (from 1,658 samples); and started a program of in situ (local) germplasm conservation. The local switch to canario production was the doom of the traditionals.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                  saltwater RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 22, 2008 08:10 PM

                  Ground zero for certain types or strains of beans, and then they spread around the planet and diversified over time? And now the source region is all ploughed under to one variety? Economics makes strange choices.

                  I've never thought about food choices with respect to beans. I am more trained to think about it with seafood.

                  1. re: saltwater
                    Sam Fujisaka RE: saltwater Jul 29, 2008 08:07 PM

                    We should get together. I'm not a marine biologist or marine ecologist, but my heart is also with seafood.

                2. re: saltwater
                  Shrinkrap RE: saltwater Jan 25, 2013 05:27 PM

                  "Who is eating the peruano beans in the US?"

                  I am !

                  This is my bookmark.

          2. Eat_Nopal RE: tatamagouche Jul 11, 2008 09:27 PM

            2 Cents....

            There are regional or cook differences... I disagree with any implication that they should only be done in a certain texture. In Mexico they run the spectrum, and I have had delicious versions in every style... as well as mediocre & bad ones.

            I think the most important things about Refritos.. are really two:

            1) No crappy Pinto Beans. Flor de Mayo, Flor de Junio, Bayos, Mayocoba etc., recent harvest beans are essential.

            2) Excellent, flavorful, artisinally rendered lard.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Eat_Nopal
              bkhuna RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 12, 2008 06:27 AM

              Good point about the texture. My wife has always make them a little on the dry, firm side and I never thought much about it. However, my preference has shifted in the last few years and I now prefer to have them a little chunkier and looser.

              If I could get freshly rendered pork lard, I'd use it. A little goes a long way for enhancing the flavor.

              1. re: bkhuna
                dkenworthy RE: bkhuna Jul 12, 2008 07:25 AM

                I want to second EN's assertion that there a lots of ways to make refritos. Diana Kennedy has a recipe in one of her early books that shows a version of refritos that is completely solid and rolled into kind of an omelet shape. Question of taste.

                If you cook pork at all, it is pretty easy to render your own lard. I save the little scraps of pure fat when I trim pork chops etc. in a bag in the freezer. Once I have enough, I put it in a frying pan, cover with water, and simmer until I have rendered the fat. Chill in fridge, lift off the manteca. Much better than commercial version.

                Also, if you have a good Mexican Market that makes carnitas or chicaronnes, you can often buy a small tub of manteca for practically nothing. This is browned, so has more limited use, but still delicious for refritos. I don't tend to make refritos, just frijoles de olla, since the last thing I need is more fat in my diet, but they sure are good.

                1. re: dkenworthy
                  jackrugby RE: dkenworthy Jul 17, 2008 11:51 AM

                  I have a question about 'rendering fat'. I thought when, for example, I cook bacon and save the drippings, that this was rendering fat. You mention covering the fat with water and simmer until the fat is rendered.

                  Is this 2 ways of doing the same thing or is what I'm doing when frying bacon not rendering fat? If it is 2 ways of doing the same thing, then why would you use water in the process?

                  1. re: jackrugby
                    Eat_Nopal RE: jackrugby Jul 17, 2008 01:44 PM

                    DK is referring to the process of rendering fat from the Fat Back of the Pork rather than from Bacon... they are different animals (well not really)... Fat Back is for making large quantities of lard, with a clean (if pork flavor can be discribed as clean) pork flavor.

                    Bacon drippings are a great product but that lard takes on the bacon flavor (smokey, molasses etc.,) which is great but no always wanted (i.e., Chocolate Macademia cookies or for deep frying).

                    Another major method used is to collect the drippings from Carnitas & Chicharron making which will yield a tan, very flavorful lard... with some limitations on frying over high heat.

                    Yet another method is the Asiento (bits of browned pork skin & flesh, mixed with lard also leftover from Chicharron making)... this is heavenly when smeared on warm tortillas, sopes, toasted bread etc.,

                    1. re: jackrugby
                      thew RE: jackrugby Jul 17, 2008 02:29 PM

                      both are rendering fat.

                      i often use the water method with duck fat. protection against burning

                      1. re: jackrugby
                        alanbarnes RE: jackrugby Jul 17, 2008 03:42 PM

                        You can render fat from any part of the pig in either of two ways: dry or wet. Wet rendering is done with boiling water or steam, and results in a white, relatively pure lard with a neutral flavor and a high smoke point. Dry rendering is done in an oven, skillet, or deep fryer; no water is involved in the process, so the fat browns a little (or a lot). The color is darker, the flavor is more pronounced, and the smoke point is lower.

                        So the reason you wet-render lard is because it produces a more versatile (but less succulent) end product. I put 20 pounds of pig fat (free when the meat dept. at the local grocery puts pork shoulder on sale) on a meat rack in a big pressure canner over a quart of water, steam it at 15 pounds for an hour, and strain and freeze the results.

                2. hill food RE: tatamagouche Jul 11, 2008 10:21 PM

                  unless you have issues with pork, lard is essential. and that's not any pork fat, but what is properly rendered which is actually much healthier than it sounds.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hill food
                    Veggo RE: hill food Jul 11, 2008 10:38 PM

                    I learned from my cook in Mexico to save the fat from chorizo and substitute it for lard in refried's and frijoles charros. Works for me. And refrieds BEG for a habanero sauce; El Yucateco works if you abhor vinegar the way Eat Nopal does. I make my own, with minced habanero and white vinegar.

                  2. c
                    crt RE: tatamagouche Jul 12, 2008 06:56 AM

                    Traditional frijoles refritos can run the gamut from a mashed pasty consistency to that having a more whole bean consistency. That being said, more traditionally speaking about half your pot of beans should be mashed and the rest left in a whole bean state. Now as to 'flavor' if you're talking tradtional, there to is a couple of ways to go. Just salting isn't going to cut it, unless you just like salty beans. And neither is canola oil. Lard and or bacon grease is a must. Other flavor boosters include garlic powder and chicken bouillon powder.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: crt
                      Cachetes RE: crt Jul 12, 2008 07:00 AM

                      Agreed that the textures can vary.

                      My husband (who prefers a more pasty consistency) also is sure to add epazote when he can find it.

                      1. re: Cachetes
                        crt RE: Cachetes Jul 12, 2008 07:25 AM

                        Had never heard of epazote, until your post. Interesting spice. I linked to a couple of 'Ads by Google' at a Mexican food web site and read up on it. Here's one where your husband can purchase it online from. Hope this helps him out with the 'when he can find it' problem.


                        1. re: crt
                          Cachetes RE: crt Jul 12, 2008 09:46 AM

                          Wow - thanks! He loves all things spice, so he'll love this find.

                          1. re: Cachetes
                            EWSflash RE: Cachetes Feb 14, 2009 03:40 PM

                            I wish I liked epazote- it's too disgusting for words to me, and I NEVER say that about herbs, usually.

                            That said, grow some- it will come up like a weed every year from now to kingdom come- only have to not let it go wild, because it stinks and will always leave you with a crop next year. If you like it.

                    2. Sam Fujisaka RE: tatamagouche Jul 12, 2008 07:33 AM

                      I use black beans, never salt the water, and refry by tossing completely pureed beans into finely diced onions being browned in oil.

                      1. Caroline1 RE: tatamagouche Jul 12, 2008 09:35 AM

                        Okay, if you need a quick-to-fix recipe, such as when friends drop in just in time for brunch and you think, "Okay. Gotta feed 'em. What's cheap?" And you come up with something like stacked enchiladas or huevos rancheros, and you don't have half a day or more to make refritos from scratch, here's a good un. And El Nopal, sugar plum, maybe you should stop reading about here. '-)

                        You need a cast iron skillet and a couple of cans of Taco Bell refried beans. I've tried every canned version of refritos I've ever found on a grocer's shelf, from Gebhardt to Old El Paso, and Taco Bell offers maximum consistency and flavor with minimum ingredients.

                        Now you need about a half cup of fat or oil. Lard, pork fat, bacon grease, peanut oil, even olive oil if that's what rings your chimes. I've tried rendered beef fat and it misses the boat in my book. Heat the fat/oil to medium and saute a chopped onion until transparent and just a little brown around the edged. After you've tried the basic recipe a time or two, then you can add a little chopped bell peppers for the timid of heart, or some chopped hot chiles at this point, but do try them without first.

                        Now add the two cans of refried beans.and start stirring to incorporate the fat/oil. When it's incorporated, turn the burner to low and add some red chile powder to taste. I use Gebhardt chile powder because it's the most reliable I've found on heat and flavor. Next stir in some cumin(os). Cumin is possibly the most definitive of spices when it comes to things Mexican. Do be careful not to overwhelm the flavor of the beans, but I do like some enhanced flavor.

                        When serving, I top them with cheese, and even a little chopped cilantro. And if you like really thick soups, you can thin this recipe down with some chicken broth, but not too thin. Sort of like bean chowder. Add a little chopped cilantro and/or epizote. If you can't get either,then use parsley. Serve very hot with a dollop of sour cream and fresh tortillas for dipping.

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: Caroline1
                          Eat_Nopal RE: Caroline1 Jul 12, 2008 10:45 AM

                          Like a train wreck, I couldn't look a way.... I regularly serve La Costena refrieds because they are not far from an average, homemade rendition (they use properly rendered lard, roasted garlic & minimal processing)... particularly if you cook them a bit with some Epazote or toasted Avocado leaves they will taste quite good. But starting with Taco Bell, Rosarita, Gebhardt etc.,.. well I am not even going to comment.

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal
                            Sam Fujisaka RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 12, 2008 10:50 AM

                            E N!!!! I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! Listen, if you can use La Costena, C1 can use Taco Bell!! Agree on the toasted avocado leaf.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                              Caroline1 RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 12, 2008 01:06 PM

                              The closest avocado leaf to Dallas, Texas, is probably many hundreds of miles away! I make do with epizote, happy I can at least get that.

                              1. re: Caroline1
                                Scargod RE: Caroline1 Jul 13, 2008 05:19 AM

                                As I was reminded, it is easy to grow an avocado tree. Mine is about two feet tall (from just this spring), and is gorgeous! I hear of toasting the leaves, but then what? Coffee grinder, or use like bay leaf is traditionally used?
                                I got great epazote (among other things "Mexican"), from The Spice House, online.

                                1. re: Scargod
                                  Caroline1 RE: Scargod Jul 13, 2008 07:14 AM

                                  I'm assuming dried epizote? If so, how does the flavor stack up against fresh?

                                  As for growing an avacado, ain't all that easy, kid. Not when you have two brown thumbs and eight brown fingers! I've had the leaves on a plastic plant turn yellow and fall off! TRUE!!!

                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                    Eat_Nopal RE: Caroline1 Jul 13, 2008 07:42 AM

                                    Dried Epazote versus Fresh... not even close! Dried is for tea... Fresh is for food. Epazote & Hoja Santa (sometimes called Root Beer Plant in Texas) will grow absolutely crazy in your neck of the woods. Seeds of Change has the stuff.

                                  2. re: Scargod
                                    Eat_Nopal RE: Scargod Jul 13, 2008 07:43 AM

                                    Slow down... you need to have the right type of Avocado leaves... it should bear the small Criollo variety that will have the fragrant leaves. The Hass leaves are not a culinary ingredient.

                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                      hill food RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 14, 2008 02:02 AM

                                      plus if you want them to fruit, avocados, like many of us, have gender issues when it comes to reproduction..

                                      1. re: hill food
                                        Scargod RE: hill food Jul 14, 2008 04:18 AM

                                        I don't think I want to know the ones that don't have gender issues ;-)
                                        But seriously, SO ordered me this avocado plant. I'm not going in search of the name spike but it is a hybrid and I know it's not a crayolla. Can they tell gender when it's a foot tall? What if there's no male around? Would it purr if it's next to my bay plant?
                                        Lastly, no one has answered my question about how the leaves are used, or incorporated.

                                        1. re: Scargod
                                          Sam Fujisaka RE: Scargod Jul 14, 2008 07:16 AM

                                          One has to graft the missing sex to the tree. I answered before, but the answer got lost: toast and use like a bay leaf, mixing the leaf into the beans as they refry and removing at serving.

                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                            Scargod RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 14, 2008 08:49 AM

                                            Thank you Sam!
                                            I'm going to try it with the plant I have and I hope E N won't have a restless night because of it... ;-)

                              2. re: Eat_Nopal
                                Caroline1 RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 12, 2008 01:04 PM

                                Yeah, and if I could get La Costena at my local Mercados Mexicano, I'd probably use them too! But alas, the best I can do is Taco Bell. Rosarita, Old El Paso, and Gebhardt come with little bean shaped rocks in them half the time!

                                I have to share an amusing tale. The arthritis in my hands says I either have a housekeeper or learn to live with dirt. After three years of trial and mucho error, I finally have a housekeeper who knows how to keep house. She's newly returned to the U.S. after five years back in Mexico, so her English has been rusting for five years and my Spanish evaporates if I'm more than 200 feet from a Taco Bell menu! So after the discussion here this morning, I decided I wanted to make myself some refried beans tomorrow with huevos rancheros. I made a shopping list: fresh tortillas, a bunch of epizote, and a pound of hamburger meat, or in my bad Spanish, "media kilo de carne por hamburguesas." So she came back with fresh tortillas, epizote, and a two half pound patties super cheeseburger from Braums! <sigh> At least it wasn't McDonalds. We laughed ourselves silly. But it's looking like ox tail stew for tomorow. '-)

                                1. re: Caroline1
                                  Catskillgirl RE: Caroline1 Jul 12, 2008 01:51 PM

                                  OK, now *that* is funny! I'm glad you were able to laugh together. That is the universal language for sure!

                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                    orangecat RE: Caroline1 Jul 14, 2008 09:29 AM

                                    Caroline- Where are you shopping in North Texas that you can't find La Costena refried or whole black beans? Even the lowly Kroger's carries them. Search a little more, girl!

                                    1. re: orangecat
                                      Caroline1 RE: orangecat Jul 14, 2008 11:50 AM

                                      Highly possible! I'll look again. Thanks.

                                  2. re: Eat_Nopal
                                    chef chicklet RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 29, 2008 12:22 PM

                                    ok I am ashamed like a train wreck I looked at the canned beans list too. I didn't see La Costena, or Taco Bell canned beans but I did find Rosarita. And to me the can looked different, maybe new formula/recipe?

                                    I sauteed onion with salt, added the beans with a little water ( I love soupy pureed refried beans) and then I added Pace HOT Salsa, and pepper. After they are smooth and bubbling hot, I slathered them onto a flour tortilla with fresh diced white onion and just a tad of monterey jack. My opinion that if the other two brands are better than Rosarita, I can't wait to try them, because this was about tastiest fix for refried beans and a bean burrito that I've ever had! I really wanted to add bacon fat, but I didn't because it's just me eating these today. These were darn good, I can't wait to try the other two brands. Thanks!

                                    1. re: chef chicklet
                                      Eat_Nopal RE: chef chicklet Jul 29, 2008 07:13 PM

                                      Pace? You want to give me stroke? At least give the Herdez brand a chance.

                                      Rosarita are about the worst (by far) refried beans I have ever had... the metallic taste just haunts me (not in a good way).

                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                        chef chicklet RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 29, 2008 08:00 PM

                                        really? The Pace overcame the metallic. I like Herdez, I buy that one. I just didn't want to opne a can. Some things like cheetos and Pace Picante, you just can't explain... I found the beans tonght, don't go getting crazy.

                                  3. re: Caroline1
                                    Scargod RE: Caroline1 Jul 12, 2008 11:20 AM

                                    OMG. Good tasting beans are so easy to cook! I always put pork scraps in mine. Refried beans the next easiest thing.

                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                      Sharuf RE: Caroline1 Jul 13, 2008 12:54 AM

                                      TJ's black beans at $.69 a can are standing by for my next five-minute refritos effort. Since I'm sort of on a diet, I just heat 'em in a pot and mash 'em - no fat. Splash a little Tapatio on top and they're good to go.

                                      1. re: Sharuf
                                        Caroline1 RE: Sharuf Jul 13, 2008 07:21 AM

                                        Ever try a splash of tequila? It will help you not give a damn about the missing fat! '-)

                                        When my kids -- and step kids -- were young, I used to make big pots of black bean stew. The first time my five year old stepson tasted it, he ate FIVE big bowls! I didn't want to be a wicked step mother, so I just let him eat his fill. He was fine!

                                    2. tatamagouche RE: tatamagouche Jul 12, 2008 10:35 AM

                                      Thanks to you all! Great, thorough. helpful answers (I expect no less from CH of course).

                                      1. c
                                        crt RE: tatamagouche Jul 12, 2008 11:08 AM

                                        All this talk about canned refried beans products. Please. If you're going to use canned products, at least have the decency to start with 'packed in the juice' whole beans. Drain, rinse, place in a pan, add the lard/bacon grease, and the rest of the seaonings to taste and mash into desired consistency. At least it's the 'semi homemade version'.

                                        23 Replies
                                        1. re: crt
                                          Caroline1 RE: crt Jul 12, 2008 01:09 PM

                                          Drain the beans and throw away all the liquid and you're gonna end up with semi-dried mortar for a brick wall! Trust me! '-)

                                          1. re: Caroline1
                                            Scargod RE: Caroline1 Jul 13, 2008 05:40 AM

                                            Not if you add enough lard... but then it would be more like silicone caulk.

                                            1. re: Caroline1
                                              crt RE: Caroline1 Jul 13, 2008 08:07 AM

                                              There is going to be some residual liquid on the beans themselves and as has been pointed out you're going to be adding lard and or bacon grease which in effect is adding moisture back into the beans.

                                            2. re: crt
                                              Eat_Nopal RE: crt Jul 12, 2008 02:11 PM

                                              I guarantee La Costena is sensorally better than your semi homemade version... maybe even better than a home made version.

                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                crt RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 08:15 AM

                                                While I seriously doubt your contention, if canned refried beans are your thing, then by all means eat away! Sorry, but my tastebuds have higher standards than that when it comes to refried beans.

                                                1. re: crt
                                                  Eat_Nopal RE: crt Jul 13, 2008 01:54 PM

                                                  Who are you to doubt my contention? I am Eat_Nopal how do you dare? Seriously... don't knock it till you try them... I prefer spending my time preparing the Red Snapper a la Veracruzana, the Duck in Mole Verde... some Panuchos de Cazon, perhaps some Calabacitas Rellenas de Flor con Tomate, Epazote y Chile Costeno... and maybe a Crap Chilpachole... and use the La Costena beans... but those are my priorities.

                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                    crt RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                    I'm one who prefers homemade refried beans to canned refried beans. Further, I think that when it comes to just about any food that homemade is always better. And seriously, what part of '...if canned refried beans are your thing, then by all means eat away' didn't you understand???

                                                    1. re: crt
                                                      hill food RE: crt Jul 14, 2008 02:04 AM

                                                      "a Crap Chilpachole"

                                                      please expand.

                                                      1. re: hill food
                                                        Eat_Nopal RE: hill food Jul 14, 2008 10:17 AM

                                                        Chilpacholes are a traditional dish from the Totonacan (the Totonac region of Northern Veracruz i.e., where the El Tajin ruins are found).

                                                        Think of them as the Crab Boils of Louisiani except that the broth used has Chipotles & Epazote leaves (along with other common Stock / Broth ingredients)... you make a broth than cook vast quantities of Crab, Corn on the Cob, Chayotes, Potatoes, Carrots etc... one of the interesting thing is that the Crab roe is used to make little sopes that accompany the soup.

                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                          hill food RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 17, 2008 10:53 PM

                                                          sounds good - on the radar.

                                                2. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                  Scargod RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 09:21 AM

                                                  What kind of bean is the La Costena brand canned bean? The mayo coba you mentioned looks odd (as in yellowish-off white), compared to the other pinkish ones. Is it's taste significantly different? I don't know if I've ever seen it (in Texas or CT).

                                                  1. re: Scargod
                                                    Eat_Nopal RE: Scargod Jul 13, 2008 01:46 PM

                                                    They use Flor de Mayo beans... somewhat similar to Pintos but markedly superior taste & texture.

                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                      saltwater RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 01:59 PM

                                                      How do the flor de Mayo compare to Pink Beans (Habichuelas Rosadas)? I already like the pink beans better than pintos, so that is what I always use.

                                                      1. re: saltwater
                                                        Eat_Nopal RE: saltwater Jul 13, 2008 02:18 PM

                                                        They have a nuttier flavor but with similar consistency.

                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                          saltwater RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 02:27 PM

                                                          Thanks. Since the consistency is part of what I love so much, I'll have to try the Flor de Mayo, too. Is there something else out there with that wonderful consistency that I ought to try while I'm poking around in the bean aisle?

                                                          1. re: saltwater
                                                            Eat_Nopal RE: saltwater Jul 13, 2008 03:13 PM

                                                            If you are willing to invest... there is a guy in Napa who brings back heirloom beans from Mexico, Europe and and other places, and grows them in Napa... the stuff is not cheap ($5 a pound)... but they are guaranteed to be fresh & the guy really knows what he is doing.

                                                            Comparing the beans we get at the supermarkets to the regional varieties is like comparing Butterball turkeys to Heritage, Free Range...yeah that stark. Even black beans... if you get the stuff grown in the Yucatan and compare to the store brand you will notice a huge difference. There are a lot of great beans out there.

                                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                              Scargod RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 03:41 PM

                                                              You are so right. I've grown pinto beans and fresh is so superior. Same a potatoes right out of the ground.
                                                              I am going to try some of those beans you were referring to.

                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                saltwater RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 13, 2008 03:48 PM

                                                                That is too much for me right now for beans, but that is an idea, locally grown heirloom beans. I've always just gotten Goya. Thanks for the thoughts!

                                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                  DanaB RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 17, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                  Also in Napa is Rancho Gordo, which specializes in heirloom beans. They sell their products at Divine Pasta in Los Angeles and a few other selected stores around the country, or you can order online:


                                                          2. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                            Eat_Nopal RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 17, 2008 01:36 PM

                                                            Correction... I am confusing the La Costena & La Sierra brands. Sierra is the superior product with a variety of Bean cultivars... La Costena is pretty good but they really only do Black & Pinto. I used to source La Sierra at Whole Foods in West L.A.... but they have been harder to source in Wine Country... so I defaulted to La Costena... which are fine... but La Sierra are the ones I meant to plug.


                                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                              crt RE: Eat_Nopal Jul 21, 2008 12:07 PM

                                                              Sorry Eat Nopal. But I was curious about your contention that La Costena uses the Flor de Mayo beans since there is no mention of that variety of bean being used in any of their varieties of canned beans at their website nor could I find any evidence of that in the their products at my local store, So I took the liberty of emailing them via their website and asked them flat out if they used the Flor de Mayos since I knew of someone who contened they did. But according to the email I recieved back from an Alma Cecilia Gonzales Marin with La Costena the only varieties of beans used in the various varieties of the canned beans that they make are...the black bean & the pinto bean. So I don't know if you're just assuming that that's the variety or that is what someone else had mistakenly told you. Either way again according to them, they don't use the Flor de Mayo variety.

                                                              1. re: crt
                                                                Eat_Nopal RE: crt Jul 21, 2008 08:18 PM

                                                                If you see my post dated Jul 17, 2008 1:36PM... I retract and state that I was confusing La Costena & La Sierra... its La Sierra that uses a variety of beans including Bayos, Flor de Mayo, Mayocoba & others. (Chata does as well).

                                                            2. re: Scargod
                                                              Veggo RE: Scargod Jul 13, 2008 03:00 PM

                                                              Scargod, I just perused my mexican pantry and found La Costena refried black beans in a 20.5 oz can, and whole black beans in a 19.75 oz can
                                                              Many have noted that refries vary by region and taste, fine. The "standard" for refries in the Yucatan is black beans. There is a certain correctness to black refries, sprinkled with white crumbled cojito cheese; ( think "Black Ink Darkness, as Stevie Nicks so well sings it) One wears a black tuxedo in the evening not for it's own elegance, but to allow everything around it to sparkle.
                                                              By contrast, refries with pinto and similar light colored beans, pardon my visual, more closely resemble frat house barf or doggie diarrhea.

                                                        2. l
                                                          laliz RE: tatamagouche Jul 14, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                          I always use La Costena black beans in my version of refritos. This is the recipe I love. I use 1/2 refried beans and 1/2 rinsed and drained black beans.

                                                          El Charro Refried Beans

                                                          4 Cups pinto beans -- cooked & mashed
                                                          12 Ounces evaporated milk
                                                          2 Tablespoons shortening -- melted
                                                          1/2 Pound cheddar cheese -- shredded
                                                          Salsa De Chile Colorado

                                                          Mash beans in skillet and add hot oil. Mix well. Stir in evaporated milk.
                                                          Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently.

                                                          Before serving, refry beans by adding 2 tablespoons smoking hot fat,
                                                          shredded cheese to taste and some Salsa and stir briskly over high heat.

                                                          **I top with queso fresco**

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: laliz
                                                            Passadumkeg RE: laliz Jul 17, 2008 11:16 AM

                                                            Lo siento, can't get into this. "Greasar" the cooked pintos and ya got refried beans. Just a poor dumb Chuc story End of story.

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                              Sam Fujisaka RE: Passadumkeg Jul 17, 2008 12:39 PM

                                                              No creo que has visto la etapa antes de saltear en grasa: "Mash beans in skillet and add hot oil. Mix well. Stir in evaporated milk. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently."

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                Passadumkeg RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 17, 2008 02:12 PM

                                                                Evaporado leche, esse, you're high class, dude! No man, just gresar the frijoles and make a montana on the fritos a leetle chile rojo, queso blanco & cebolla & cellantro if it's Sat. night and I am por cielo, esse!
                                                                El Spanglish Dude del Norte

                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                  Caroline1 RE: Passadumkeg Jul 17, 2008 02:21 PM

                                                                  Don't care what you call it, sounds like a bean casserole to me!

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                    Passadumkeg RE: Caroline1 Jul 17, 2008 03:45 PM

                                                                    Frito pie?

                                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                    Eat_Nopal RE: Passadumkeg Jul 17, 2008 02:54 PM

                                                                    Que mamiferos!

                                                            2. alanbarnes RE: tatamagouche Jul 29, 2008 08:54 PM

                                                              Made 'em tonight, and as a result of your post paid attention to the consistency. IMHO, the perfect refried beans are too thick to run, but too thin to mound up. (This is hot; they're much thicker when cold.)

                                                              Last night's dinner was collards, cornbread, and pinto beans. (Sorry, EN, but it's what me and mine have eaten for generations. It's a New Mexico thing.) Tonight I browned an onion in lard, added a little garlic, and then a quart or so of leftover beans with their liquor. Hit it with a potato masher until more of the beans were mashed than were whole, then stirred while things thickened up.

                                                              You put a big dip of these in the middle of a tostada, then give it a shake and they spread around. But they don't move around or run off the edge unless you shake 'em, even when the bean layer is fairly thick. Top with chipotle salsa, queso fresco, raw onion, minced green chile, shredded green cabbage, and a dollop of crema, and it's dinner. Oh, yeah.

                                                              1. Leucadian RE: tatamagouche Jul 29, 2008 11:03 PM

                                                                I bought pintos, flor de maio, and ojo de venado at the market last week, just to see what the difference was. (No one has mentioned OdV yet.) The pintos had a definite grey cast to them ater cooking, whereas the other two had a little more red. The FdM were smaller than the other two, and didn't absorb much water, but the OdV swelled up to a very large bean. The pintos were in between. This means that the OdV might be a better value than the other two. I had a hard time getting a smooth consistency from just mashing on all all three beans, so I resorted to a hand blender, and that did the trick. Maybe if I had let them sit for a day, they would have mashed better, the way my comfort food black beans do.

                                                                I preferred the ojo de venado for taste, but I'm not sure I could tell the difference except side by side. They all tasted a lot better when I added some fat from the pork shoulder I cooked the night before.

                                                                1. bushy RE: tatamagouche Nov 2, 2008 10:20 AM

                                                                  Well so many of you found my secret- La Costena Refried Beans! Amazing quality. I have been trying to do homemade as well and I just cannot beat them. Really were the perfect refrieds! WERE I say because if you look at the back label of the recent cans they are now made in..........ARIZONA! Used to say Product of Mexico! Now they taste like all the rest- Rosorito etc. etc. Damn, ruined my Mexican favorite. Why do companies do things like that? Search your markets fast as the new Arizona cans are here already in California. (new and improved)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: bushy
                                                                    Eat_Nopal RE: bushy Nov 2, 2008 01:14 PM

                                                                    Bummer... I still have the Made in Mexico cans at home. It doesn't matter because La Sierra (available through Whole Foods & local Mex markets) are superior to La Costena.

                                                                  2. horseshoe RE: tatamagouche Nov 2, 2008 05:47 PM

                                                                    For all things Mexican,,,,,http://www.mexgrocer.com/catagories-c...

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