Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

I am always looking for ways to stretch my dollar.  Isn't everyone these days?  And seeing as how I'm married to a Committed Carnivore, and meat isn't exactly cheap, I'm always on the look out for alternative protein options to add to our meat entrees.  Either as a filler, or as an additional side dish.

I frequently turn to beans for help with this.  Beans are a wonderful source of protein AND are super cheap!!  Now normally on Taco Nights, I'll rinse off a can off black beans (always rinse first; have you seen that preservation sludge??) and add those to the pan of simmering taco meat.  It crosses my mind to pick up a can of refried beans but I always forget, PLUS they can be pretty fattening.

From now on though, refried beans will be a regular attendee for Taco Night, all thanks to this fantastically EASY recipe!!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Recipe slightly adapted from 100 Days of Real Food
Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 8 hours

1 medium-ish onion, peeled and halved
2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped (leave the seeds in if you like more heat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch of cumin
6 cups water

1.  Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours or overnight while you are sleeping.  Although if you can sleep through the perfume of these beans cooking then you have super human sleep strength and I'd like you to teach me your secret.
I think this bag was about a $1.50.  I used half for this recipe.

All that delicious flavor about to come together and work magic.

2.  Remove the bigger onion chunks; drain and reserve the excess liquid.  Mash remaining beans with a potato masher, adding as much of the reserved liquid as you like until you reach your desired consistency.
All cooked!

I left mine a little thicker, more like mashed potatoes.

Ok so about halfway through the cooking time, I pretty much decided that, if by some freakishly weird reason, this would not taste good I would still make it again just for the AMAZING AROMAS wafting from beneath the lid of my slow cooker.  Truly, this smells FABULOUS.  And the taste?  Wow.  You will not get this flavor from any can!!  These are creamy, a little smokey and just a hint of heat from the chipotle.  I'm pretty sure that my bean to meat ratio on Taco Night was about even. In fact, I have a little bit of beans left and I'm thinking a bean-cheddar quesadilla will make for a pretty darn tasty lunch on this snowy day!
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