Monday, July 23, 2007

Refried Beans: Easy Like Beanday Morning

Refried beans: their very name suggests cardiac arrest.

“Beans. Those are healthy. Oh, wait - maybe not. It says here they’re fried. No, check that. They’re REFRIED. Does that mean they’ve been FRIED AGAIN? How is that POSSIBLE? GOD IN HEAVEN, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?

Relax. Despite their forbidding moniker, homemade refried beans are surprisingly low in fat, calories, and evil. In fact, their fiber content (about 7 grams per serving) will have your colon doing backflips. (Or buttflips. Or whatever it is that colons do when they’re happy.) Plus, I recently discovered that making them in your own kitchen is relatively simple and quick as hell.

At best, home preparations are a bit garlicky and just-barely past viscous. They shouldn’t run, but you shouldn’t be able to sculpt with them, either. The first time I tried cooking refried beans at home, I let too much water evaporate, and it resulted in a pasty, adobe-style substance not unlike what you might use to build a hut. Since then, the dish has become progressively easier for me to whip up, and has repeatedly proven superior to canned versions.

Listed below are two recipes: a super-basic one from the back of a Goya can, and a more complex version from Food Network’s Ellie Krieger. I found the restaurant-styleGoya beans to be less expensive and a tad less flavorful, while the Ellie beans are a little pricier/gourmet-ier/kickier, but either would make a delicious side for your next fiesta. Or you could eat ‘em all at once. But who in the world would do a thing like that?

(*farts incriminatingly*)


Ellie Krieger’s Refried Beans
3 servings – heaping ½ c per serving

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ancho chili powder, or other chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken or veggie broth, plus more if needed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft but not brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add beans and chicken broth and cook until everything is warm, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) Mash mixture using either the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. If needed, add more chicken broth for moisture. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
182 calories, 5 g fat, $0.54

Calculations
1 Tbsp olive oil: 120 calories, 14 g fat, $0.08
1/2 medium onion: 56 calories, 0 g fat, $0.18
2 cloves garlic, minced: 10 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
1 tsp ancho chili powder, or other chili powder: negligible calories and fat, $0.04
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans: 350 calories, 2 g fat, $0.50
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth: 10 calories, 1 g fat, $0.38
Salt and pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves: negligible calories and fat, $0.33
TOTAL: 546 calories, 15 g fat, $1.63
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 182 calories, 6 g fat, $0.54


Goya Refried Beans
3 servings – heaping ½ c per serving

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 14.5-oz can pinto beans, undrained
¼ onion, chopped small
1 large garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste

1) In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook until onions are soft and translucent.

2) While onions are cooking, combine beans and bean juice in a bowl. Mash with potato masher. Add to onion mixture when finished.

3) Cook everything until liquid has reduced a little, and the beans are the consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
168 calories, 4.7 g fat, $0.25

Calculations
1 Tablespoon olive oil: 120 calories, 14 g fat, $0.08
1 14.5-oz can pinto beans: 350 calories, 2 g fat, $0.50
¼ onion, chopped small: 28 calories, 0 g fat, $0.09
1 large garlic clove: 5 calories, 0 g fat, $0.05
salt and pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.03
TOTAL: 503 calories, 16 g fat, $0.75
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 168 calories, 5.3 g fat, $0.25

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1 comment:

Susan said...

These are delicious and super easy, just as Kris said. However, they would be infintely less painful to make if I had a potato masher. The back of the spoon worked, but was hard on forearm muscles that I apparently don't have!

Not a single one of your recipes has ever failed me - they are scrumptious and easy - thanks!! :)