Indiana farm girls did not eat much Mexican food back in the 1960’s. One of our ministers, a Texas transplant, served my family tacos at their house one night after church. I remember they had to explain to us how to assemble and eat them. That may have been the night I decided I must marry a Texan.
It was not easy to cook Mexican food in the midwest back then. If you wanted corn tortillas, they were only available at the largest grocery store in town. And, they were in a can. Imagine that! Which brings to mind the glass jar of tamales that sat in my mom’s pantry for years (well, maybe not THAT long). I can still picture it clearly. I must have moved that jar around hundreds of times looking for something more appetizing. Of course, they were mushy and flavorless when we finally tried them so it’s a wonder I ever touched Mexican food again.
Throughout my married life, I have tried many refried bean recipes–most of them simple and good. This one is only slightly more complicated but a ton more tasty. Meat ups the flavor factor considerably. No need to use the traditional lard or bacon grease.
Making a beef and bean burrito is quick since the beef and beans are already combined. Or try these alongside your favorite Tex-Mex casserole or enchiladas. Also makes a great dip.
These beans freeze beautifully. I use my vacuum pack machine to make individual servings. One tortilla + a small serving of refried beans equals an effortless, healthy lunch when eaten with my jar of salad.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans (could also use 4 (15 oz.) cans of pinto beans, well rinsed and drained)
- 1½ teaspoons salt (omit if using canned beans)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup oyster sauce (contains no oysters; available in the Oriental section)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (buying it by the tube makes this easy)
- 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, minced (may substitute ½ to 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno peppers )
- ½ teaspoon Adobo seasoning (a Puerto Rican spice mixture; if unavailable, substitute ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon ground oregano)
- Soak beans and cook according to package, adding salt AFTER beans are tender.
- Meanwhile, combine beef, garlic, egg, oyster sauce, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix it together however you can. Hands work best--it's like making meatloaf. Put in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to marinate while beans cook.
- When beans are tender, drain off juice and reserve.
- In separate skillet, brown ground beef mixture, onions and jalapeno pepper. Drain excess grease.
- Combine beans and meat in one pot and start mashing. A fork will work but a masher or granny fork works faster. Mash until there are no obvious whole beans but still some texture. If you or your kids have been raised on fast food or canned refried beans and don't like lumps, put small batches in a food processor. Add reserved liquid till beans are the thickness you like. If they are still too thick, add a little more water. Season with Adobo seasoning and simmer on the stove over low heat for another 30-45 minutes.