Refried black beans: frijoles negros


I lived in Guatemala for 17 years…and wouldn’t eat black beans.  My mom tried to trick us into eating them, but I wouldn’t.  About a month before I moved away, I finally tried them (of my own accord) and realized…they aren’t that bad!  I almost liked them!  Crazy, isn’t it?  And even crazier: refried black beans and rice are my favorite meal nowadays!

When I lived in Guate, and after I married Henry, my boss used to tease me and ask if I had prepared black beans for my husband yet…I always said “no way!! we eat McDonalds!”  (and that’s what explains the rapid weight gain after getting married!)  Now I make refried beans about once a week, and am so very happy that my kids eat them!!  Sorry Mom, for being so picky when I was little!  My kids aren’t totally perfect, but they sure are better eaters than I was!! Haha.

Anyways, about beans….and not just any beans.  They have to be black beans.  That’s what they eat in Guatemala.  I think in Mexico red beans are used more, and some other beans in El Salvador…I can’t quite remember which they prefer there….every place has their favorite beans!  Don’t think that I’m such a great cook and spend hours making beans from scratch….sorry to disappoint!  I make them from a can…it’s just easier and faster…and that’s what I’m all about.

When we came back from visiting our family in Guatemala at Christmas time, I squeezed 2 precious cans into my suitcase…

They taste soooo good!  These have already been refried, and are all ready to eat.  I haven’t been able to buy these where I shop, so I buy the whole beans and start with them.

I learned something new about canned beans when I was there.  I was in the kitchen one day, and my sweet little sister-in-law was going to prepare some canned refried beans (we were in a hurry!  usually they cook them from scratch) she opened a big can of them, then flipped them over, grabbed a very large knife and whack! whacked 2 holes in the bottom of the can!  It surprised me…I had never seen this done, and she seemed so at home with that large knife…and then she held the can over the pan and blew into the holes, and out popped the beans and into the pan!  Slick trick! 🙂

I was determined to try this little trick when I got home.  So I packed my cans of refried beans, flew for a day to get home, and waited for the right moment…

When the craving for beans came apon me, I grabbed my biggest knife and whack! whack!Oh, I guess that first I opened the tin…  If you should be fortunate enough to have a can of refried beans, this is a handy way of preparing it!Not sure if it matters what order you do it in, oh wait, yes, because you should be whacking it with the knife over the pan, but since I had my camera in one hand, I had to set the tin down on the countertop!

So really, you should already have your pan sizzling full of onions and garlic….plenty of chopped onions and garlic browning up in oil!Then whack your can!  (Children, do not try this at home. Let your parent do it, so if they accidently whack their hand with the knife, they are responsible to get themselves the necessary first aid.  I am super squeamish about first aid, so I whack very carefully!)Now invert the can over the pan, and give a big puff and blow through the knife holes!And the contents should plop out just like this!  Doesn’t that look appetizing?Now mash it up…

Add some more oil…you will need this to brown them up a bit more and start the final step…making the “maleta” (that means suitcase).I am so not an expert…I’ve seen experts flip this around, brown it a bit, then flip the frying pan in the air to flip the maleta over….it looks great, but no photos of that part!

Here’s a photo of the “maleta” of refried beans that we ate on New Years Eve…(this was several cans of beans)Prepared by my husband for the kids’ New Years’ Eve brunch out on the patio (enjoying perfect outdoor weather I must add…)Yum!!  I love these beans!

Here’s how I serve them back here in Canada:I don’t usually make rice how I learned in Guate, usually I make plain basmati rice, then serve them with (bought) salsa and sour cream or lately, cream cheese and tortilla chips (and sometimes scrambled eggs).  It’s my favorite meal and I could eat it every day….if it wasn’t for certain side-effects of beans….anyways…..Here’s my baby and her plate of beans…she really loves them, she was just sitting there waiting for me to finish photographing her food so she could eat it already!!!  Hmmm….I’m thinking of lunch now…wonder if I have any cans of beans in the cupboard….?

When I make them from the whole canned beans, I just cook them up with the onions and garlic, then use one of those little hand-held blender things (for making beverages and stuff) and blend up the beans in the pot.  Sometimes I add oil and fry them up a bit, and sometimes not.  Add salt!! that is necessary, even if you skimp out on the oil.

Since I’m trying to get my iron up, I’ve been trying to eat liver pate on toast in the mornings…well, the other day, I thought, maybe I should add some refried beans to my liver toast…and some cream cheese!  So I did, but I felt like I was having to choke it down…was I just getting tired of liver?  The only way I was able to eat it, was to smother my liver-bean-cream-cheese toast in Dorito chips…And it still wasn’t that good.   Later on that day, Henry looked at the liver pate in the fridge and told me that it had gone bad….I guess that explains it…and explains why my stomach felt “off” the rest of the day…

oh well, I ingested a fair amount of iron that day, what with the liver and beans and all….

I think I might just stick to the refried beans, though.

Hope this (first part of the post) has made you want to try some yummy refried beans!!  Hey…I just remembered the black bean volcano that I made for my son’s bday party…wonder if I have a photo…nope, couldn’t find it…I’ll post it another day…when I hear back about how many people love refried black beans!!! 🙂

How do you eat/prepare beans?  Do you have a Bean Tradition in your family?  Do your kids eat them?


6 responses »

  1. YUM! or should I say ¡ÑAM! I love beans! Well not all beans, I do have my favourite ones too. I like black beans and pinto beans. I too buy canned beans but my mamí still makes them from scratch and they are my favourite! Especially when she makes gallo pinto, which is the term used in Nicaragua for mixed beans and rice! It’s a whole other story on how gallo pinto is made.
    And my daughter Eva absolutely loves them! I made sure to introduce beans to her as early as possible so that she could learn to love them. I figured that when I take her to Central America that she will be able to eat them…since beans are eaten 2 or 3 times a day over there! Hopefully my son will learn to love them too once he’s ready to eat them!
    My Canadian husband, well, he will eat them, for it’s nutritional value, but he does not love them. He does enjoy gallo pinto though, especially with chile!

  2. Mmm, gallo pinto sounds good!! Is that made with pinto beans? I’d like to try it!
    I think sometimes it’s good to start eating beans as a bean dip with tortillas chips….that seems to help non-bean-lovers!! 🙂

  3. que rico!!!! . Tambien los puedes hacer como frijoles colados, los haces como cuando haces la maleta de frijoles pero les pone agua y te quedan como colados y luego los comes con panito frances mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm que rico, la verdad es que mi mami me enseño esta receta, para hacerlos mas rapido y no tener que ponerlos ha cocer y luego colarlos, las latas de frijoles nos ayudan con el tiempo, es mas rapido……….

  4. hoy me acorde que tambien los puedes hacer con arroz, aqui en guate les llamamos casamiento y quedan deliciosos te los recomiendo……….

  5. Unfortunately, most (all) refried beans available in Canada are adulterated with soy bean oil (one of Tim’s allergies), so I am ‘forced’ to make them from scratch. No problem as I, too, prefer black beans. I make them as I need them, as I have also (twice) made rellinitos, which require the beans be sweetened, so no garlic. BTW, if you haven’t had them, they are balls of refried beans with chocolate and cinnamon, covered with mashed plantains, then fried and served with a bit of whipping cream. Num! Now I want some, but we don’t get plantains here!!

    • hey, I never noticed about the soy bean oil, I’m going to look at that next time. No, I don’t remember ever having those…..well, maybe I once I ate a cake that I thought was chocolate and vanilla, but to my horror it was black beans and plantains!!!

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