I know this isn’t crockpotting weather, folks, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and in case you didn’t notice, we’re in a recession. So it’s time to tighten the purse strings and pull out the slow cooker for today’s recipe. I guess if I’m really honest, making your own refried beans is not going to be your saving grace if the debt collectors come to call; it will save you maybe $2.95, and the heat your crockpot is going to generate in your kitchen will probably cause the a/c to kick in a little more often than usual, so when it’s all boiled down, you might actually pay more to make refried beans at home than buying a can at the grocery store. I’m realizing that I should probably ditch the economical argument for these beans right about now, but I won’t give up on this recipe yet. I still have the health angle going for me.
This pot of beans has no fat and tons of flavor, a perfect match to the homemade salsa you made yesterday (which I am absolutely certain that you made; probably a double batch, you over-achiever, you). Seriously, I’ve had the beans in a can and what I’m proposing below will completely annihilate anything you buy at the grocery store. And just think, by surpassing the ground beef in your tacos tonight and replacing it with these homemade, healthy, delicious refried beans, you’re saving another cow. Well done.
Crockpot Refried Beans
½ c. onion, finely chopped
1 ½ c. dry pinto beans, rinsed
½ fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of spicy. These beans don’t have any kick to them. The jalapeno just adds a nice flavor.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cumin
4 ½ c. water
Shredded Cheddar Jack cheese for serving
Dump everything in your crockpot, give a quick stir, and cook on high for about 6 hours (I guess it could take longer depending on your slow cooker, but the high heat on mine should be renamed “Hades” because that’s the kind of hellish heat it pumps out) or low for about 10. Strain the beans but be sure to save about 2 cups of the liquid. Mash up the beans, adding bean liquid as you mash, till the beans reach a consistency you’re comfortable with. Top the beans with a thin layer of shredded cheese. Grab your warm tortilla, slather a big spoonful of these beans down the middle, nestle some fresh salsa on top and perhaps, if you're daring, a dollop of sour cream, and dinner is ready. (In the above picture, I also have some shredded zucchini on top. Really, I have this stuff coming out of my ears right now so I pretty much put zucchini on everything that goes in my mouth. But it actually tasted really nice on the tacos so you can always give that a try, too.)
Disclaimer: While I whole-heartedly promote this spectacular recipe, I cannot be held responsible for the gastro-intestinal issues it may induce later on in the evening, so I wouldn’t suggest making this for an anniversary or Valentine’s Day dinner. Probably want to stick with pasta on those nights. Otherwise, enjoy!