Busy weeknights call for a well-stocked pantry. It’s really easy to enjoy a home-cooked meal when you have all the ingredients at your fingertips. One of my family’s favorite dinners is taco night. We all love making our own creations piled with pico de gallo, guacamole, and all the other fixings. One thing we seem to be divided on is what to do with the refried beans. I love them served over rice, and my husband prefers a spoon or two nestled inside the taco shells. Though one thing we do agree on is that nothing compares to refried beans made from scratch. All you need is a can of pinto beans, an onion, and some olive oil. My recipe also calls for bacon, which I use if I have some in the fridge or freezer. And if not, I don’t sweat it—they still taste pretty darn delicious and make for a vegetarian-friendly filling too.
I normally rinse canned beans to reduce the sodium, but the liquid they sit in is key to making them “refried”. The bacon adds a delicious smoky hint but you can leave it out to make a vegetarian version.
1-15 ounce can pinto beans
4 slices thick-cut, good quality bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil, as needed
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Pour the beans with their liquid into the work bowl of your Cuisinart food processor. Process until almost smooth, leaving a few chunky pieces; set aside.
Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium flame. Add bacon and sauté until it starts to brown. Add onion and garlic and sauté until bacon becomes crisp and onions and garlic turn golden (you can add a little olive oil if there is not enough fat from bacon).
Add the chunky pureed beans to the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover, or transfer to a covered casserole dish until ready to serve.