They are inexpensive and very versatile. They can be a main course simply dished up in a bowl plain, (they are that yummy), or, you can top them with cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, olives, etc.... Wrapped up in a tortilla they make great bean burritos. They are, also, an excellent way to stretch taco meat.
Soaking the dry beans in water with baking soda added is an important step. It makes the beans more digestible, ie., less gassy.
The ham shanks in this recipe provide a wonderful smoky flavor to the beans, and are relatively cheap, (my local grocery store sells them for $0.99/lb.). The little scrap pieces of ham left on the bone once the beans have been cooked can be saved and eaten with another meal.
So,without further ado:
Simple Refried Beans
1 lb.(2cups) dry pinto beans
2 small ham shanks
1/4 cup oil or lard
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
about 1 1/2 tsp. salt
Rinse beans and pick out any shriveled beans and rocks. Put beans into a bowl and cover with several inches of water. Stir in about a 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Soak beans 12 -24 hours. Drain and rinse beans. Put into a crock pot with the ham shanks; cover with an inch of water. Cook on low 5 hours. Heat oil in skillet. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Spoon beans into skillet with a slotted spoon. Mash the beans until smooth with a potato masher. Add the salt and mash a little longer. Turn off heat and enjoy!
Rinsing the dried beans.
Soaking the beans with baking soda.
Draining the soaked beans.
Cooking the beans in the crock pot with ham shanks.
Chopped onion and minced garlic.
Mashing the beans.
Adding "about 1 1/2 tsp." salt. Like my measuring spoon? :)
Yummy bowl of warm refried beans! Mmmmmm!