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Homemade Refried Beans

Lets clear something up here: Yes, you can purchase refried beans in a can, and yes, you may make a semi-homemade version with canned beans. Theyre both fine when youre very short promptly, however they wont match the richness or texture of these created from scratch. This recipe originates from Richard Martinez, dad of cookbook author and former BA senior food editor Rick Martinez. Richard makes his frijoles refritos using bacon drippings and, as though that werent enough deliciousness, Rick writes, theres salt-cured pork belly cooked with the beans! After all, how will you not love these beans? Richard uses dried pinto beans, nevertheless, you could certainly sub in black beans or kidney beans if thats everything you have readily available.

If youre not used to preparing homemade refried beans, keep a couple of things at heart. First, grab an apron and a vintage long-sleeve shirt before frying because the beans and their cooking liquid splatter easily. Second, keep an eye on over-seasoning; both cured pork and bacon drippings contain a substantial amount of salt, and theres no returning in the event that you overdo it. Little accompaniment is necessary for serving, but Rick recommends fresh pico de gallo and a crumbling of queso fresco. Alternatively, layer them onto a tostada, fold them into enchiladas, offer them as a side dish with tamales, or try re-creating Ricks favorite bean-chorizo-salsa breakfast taco.


Makes 2 quarts

medium onion, chopped

green bell pepper, chopped


garlic cloves, finely grated


pound dried pinto beans, rinsed, picked through


ounces salt pork or thick-cut bacon, cut into -inch pieces


teaspoons kosher salt


cup lard or rendered bacon fat, divided

Pico de gallo and crumbled queso fresco (for serving)

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