This recipe is based on one from Lynne Kaspar’s and Sally Swift’s gorgeous, heavenly cookbook, The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. I kid you not, I read this book like a novel. I often just keep it open at the table and pour over the recipes day after day, absorbing their wisdom and yearning for a day when I will be able to afford to cook more of the recipes. (Not that the recipes are really that expensive, but some of them are a little beyond our beans and rice budget right now!)
This book will teach you how to buy the right wok, which brands of canned tomatoes are acceptable, how to really cook pasta, how to cook without measuring ingredients, and how to make some delicious refried beans. To the latter we will now turn. (What I have typed out below is essentially the same recipe, with a few tiny changes– but all the credit goes to the wonderful ladies of The Splendid Table!!! Please buy their book, How to Eat Supper! It is the best cookbook ever!!!!)
Refried Black Beans
extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped into small dice
salt and fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional*)
2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional*)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (optional*)
1/4- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional*)
2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained (other kinds of beans will work, too, of course! The book’s recipe calls for red kidney beans…)
1.5 cups water
2 T butter (not optional!)
* The Splendid Table recipe calls for the jalapeno, cinnamon, and cloves. I added some cayenne pepper. I think it really tastes extraordinary with those spices, but if you don’t have those on hand, you could season this with some cumin, or leave out the spices altogether and season these beans with some salsa, lime juice, etc.
1. Chop onion, garlic, jalapeno, and prepare spices before you begin! I didn’t do that, and the cooking process was a little frantic as a result.
2. Cover the bottom of a 10-12 inch skillet with olive oil, on medium heat. Add onions, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook about 3 minutes.
3. Add garlic, jalapeno, cinnamon and cloves, and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant (be careful not to burn!)
4. Add rinsed beans and water, simmer on medium high heat, and crush the beans with a potato masher or with the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until the beans thicken. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you go. Add the butter, and taste to see if you need to add more salt.
(As you can see, the beans didn’t get mashed up too well…. I should have pulled out the blender, but I am too lazy! At any rate, if you don’t have a potato masher and the spoon doesn’t quite do it for you, feel free to blend until smooth!)
Serve with corn tortillas, salsa, some grated cheese, hot sauce, some lime juice, etc.