This recipe takes about 25 minutes, so it makes sense to double or triple it so you have extra for other meals.
I keep bags of frozen pinto beans ready for this sort of thing, but you could also use canned (pre-cooked) pinto beans. In that case you'll want to strain the liquid out of the beans before you use them. You'll also want to season this recipe more heavily with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and perhaps a splash of your favorite smoky hot sauce.
Adding caramelized onions to refried beans brings in some sweetness to round out the otherwise salty/savory flavor, and fresh garlic gives the spices more dimension.
It's important to add the fresh garlic after the onions and beans are done, since if the garlic cooks too long it will burn and turn bitter. I add chicken broth to shut down the garlic's cooking, and to lift flavors off the skillet. The broth also helps meld flavors, and for some dishes (like enchiladas or bean dip), a filling with a bit more liquid may be desired.
- 4 cups Derek's (almost) Famous Pinto Beans
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced fine
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 3/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
large cast iron skillet on medium-low heat until hot (the oil should shimmer and get visbly thinner when you add it).
Toss in the onions. I typically leave my onions sliced, but you can chop them as small as you like. You can read more on caramelized onion theory and practice.
Once the onions are starting to turn golden (i.e. caramelizing), add the beans. Heat the beans until they are hot while stirring every minute or two to prevent burning. Once the beans are hot, clear a spot in the middle of the skillet, and put a tablespoon of oil in the center of it.
After 30 seconds or so when the garlic is just cooked, add the broth to shut down the garlic cooking and to lift flavors off the skillet.