the misadventures of refrying beans

Do not underestimate a two dollar can of refried beans. It's harder than it looks.

Saturday night, I had friends over, and naturally being the weekend after Thanksgiving, I wanted to flex my skills with some leftover turkey. There is no shortage of online ideas for your late November turkey, but I've had one in my back pocket for years: Baked Turkey Chimichanga... but far less healthy.

I did not have refried beans, as the recipe called for, but I did have a bag of dry pinto beans. And, as usual, I said, "How hard can it be?" And didn't go off of more than that.

The bag had instructions for quick cooking, which is not entirely true. Beans need to be soaked overnight. I boiled and soaked for upwards to four hours. That apparently was not enough.

Luckily, my friend arrived about this time, and she and her family grew up eating refried beans all the time. She said to make it authentically Mexican, we'd need lard. I had a chilled jar of it of course.

I added three tablespoons of lard and heated some onions and garlic. Then, I added the beans and attempted to mash them. They did no such thing. So the next logical step was to put them in the food processor. Bad move...

First of all, there was carnage.

I set it on grind and it did exactly that. I had ground hot beans.

My friend was so sweet. We tasted spoonfuls, and she said, "This is why my father says never try to cook beans."

We made a run to the store.

Lesson learned. The recipe went on...

See part 2 tomorrow.



  1. haha! I've been playing around with rehydrating beans... the overnight soak seems pretty much mandatory. I've heard you can do it faster in a pressure cooker, but I don't have one...
    A friend who is really good at it claims to have a "bean manifesto" brewing in his brain. If only I could convince him to actually write it down, and then give me (and you!) a copy.


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