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Rick Bayless's Refried Beans
(Frijoles Refritos) (McIlhenny Company)

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 Unless there are three other people."
Orson Welles

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Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Rick Bayless
In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs

by Julia Child with Nancy Verde Barr,
1995, Alfred A. Knopf


“When Chef Rick made his great bean casserole, ‘Chilaquiles de frijól negro’,
I said that I would just love to know how to do refried beans his way. He
generously complied, offering the following recipe. Lard, he told us, gives
this dish its authentic, rich, meaty Mexican flavor – if just the mention of
the word gives you the heebies, please see our up-to-date findings [below].

Ingredients for 6 servings

The beans
1 1/4 dry black beans, cooked according to
he directions in Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
(you may omit the epazote and chipotle chile)

The flavoring
1/2 medium white onion, diced
2 tablespoons lard, preferably
home-rendered [see below]
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and
finely minced
1 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment Suggested: A 10-inch heavy-bottomed sauté pan
or saucepan; a slotted spoon; a wooden spoon or a potato masher

Sautéing the Onion and Garlic: Warm the pan, then sauté the diced
onion in the lard over moderate heat, stirring, until tender; raise heat to moderately high and continue sautéing, stirring frequently, until the onion
in nicely browned – the browning is necessary to give the proper roasted flavor. Stir the garlic into the pan and sauté a minute or two to brown
very lightly.
Adding and Mashing the Beans:
Remove and discard the epazote from
the beans if you have used it. Reserving the cooking liquid, and, using the slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the pan with the onion and garlic. Stir
the beans about in the pan to mix all together, then mash into a coarse
puree with the back of the wooden spoon or potato masher, adding a little
of the cooking liquid if too thick. Simmer, stirring, until the beans have the consistency of thin mashed potatoes – they will thicken a little more when
you remove them from the heat. Taste, adding salt as needed.
Ahead-of-Time Note:
May be made several days in advance; cover and refrigerate. Reheat over simmering water, stirring frequently and adding
bean-cooking juices or water if too thick.
The beans are ready when they are heated through. Spoon out
onto the warm platter and garnish with grated Mexican cheese and fried
tortillas or tortilla chips.

Rendering Pork Fat for Lard

“To render fat means to heat raw pieces of fat to extract the fat itself from the fatty tissue in which it is embedded, leaving just the liquid fat – such as lard – which congeals when cool. You can then refrigerate it in a covered container for weeks,
or freeze for months. Lard is much used in Mexican cooking… Whatever the fat,
the rendering is the same. I shall take port fat as the example – look for fresh
pork fat in ethnic markets, or order it from a butcher.
Nutritional Note: Ever since fear of fat entered the scene, lard has been
looked upon with horror. According to our sources, store-bought lard is lower
in cholesterol than butter, but higher in saturated fat because it has been hydrogenated. It is neither bad nor good, just like butter. However, home-
rendered lard is not hydrogenated and is therefore not saturated fat. It
ranks with olive oil on the nutritional scale."

Ingredients for about 3 cups

2 pounds fresh unsalted pork fatback
1 cup water

Special Equipment Suggested: A heavy 3-quart saucepan with cover;
a fine-meshed sieve; 1 or 2 sturdy screw-top jars

Remove the rind only if any covers the meat – you might package and
freeze a sizable piece, and use it sometime to tie around a piece of meat
that is to braise – it works as an automatic baster.
Cut the fat into 1/2-inch dice and bring to the boil with the water. Cover
the pan and simmer slowly for 20 minutes to draw the fat out of the tissues.
Then uncover the pan and boil slowly to evaporate all moisture – you will hear sputtering noises as the evaporation proceeds. As soon as the sputtering stops, remove at once from the heat – the fat has rendered. The liquid will
be clear and yellowish, and the tissue particles – the cracklings – will have browned slightly. Let cool a few minutes, then strain through the sieve into
the jar or jars.
The Cracklings.
Knock the cracklings out of the sieve onto paper towels. Chop them into bits if necessary, and toss with a little salt, pepper, and allspice. Sprinkle over a salad, poached eggs, broiled fish or meat, and so forth. Deliciously crunchy little bits they are.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Black Bean Refritos
Mexican Pinto Beans and Pork with Avocado
Rick Bayless's Sweet-and-Smoky Pork Chops
with Tomato-Chipotle Sauce

Southwestern Enchiladas La Montaña
Pinto Beans with Tortilla-Cheese Crust

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