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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday Eats and Treats: Kathleen's Mean Beans

With 4 teenagers and 2 "tweens" in the house, someone is always hungry. I usually prepare beans on Mondays. We have beans and rice or super burritos on the first day. Then we mash and re-fry the leftover beans. The beans stay in the refrigerator, along with a steady supply of flour tortillas and shredded cheese. When someone is about to perish from hunger, the making a of bean burrito are close at hand. So far, no one from this household has died from hunger!

Kathleen's Mean Beans

  • 2 pounds dry pinto beans
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or water + bouillon)
  • 2 large onions (or 2 T onion powder)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos (or 2 T pickled jalapenos)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 cup green salsa (or red picante sauce or salsa)
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Water, if needed
  1. Soak pinto beans overnight.
  2. Rinse beans and pour into large slow cooker.
  3. Pour in chicken broth.
  4. Stir in onion, jalapeno, garlic, salsa, cumin, and pepper.
  5. Cook on high for 6 hours, low for 8-10 hours, until beans are tender.
  6. Add water as needed to keep the beans moist.

To turn Kathleen’s Mean Beans into creamy refried beans, perfect for burritos:
  1. Drain or ladle out broth* until the level is a little below the top.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon each of chili powder and ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt.
  3. Mix in 2 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or melted animal fat. (Lard is traditional.**)
  4. Use blender to puree or potato masher in a cast iron skillet until smooth.
  5. Simmer in frying pan, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until desired thickness is achieved. (Like gravy, it will thicken slightly after cooling down.)
*   Makes a great stock for vegetable soups – I like to add beef bouillon & sautéed onions for a hearty onion soup.
**I prefer rendered beef or chicken fat, and bacon grease is also pretty tasty. Although not as healthy as vegetable oil, this is the secret to a creamy texture and soul comforting satisfaction. I think olive oil is the best alternative.

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