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The start of a dip, a soup, a spread—with refried beans, the possibilities are endless
Milk Street Bowtie Oaxacan Refried Black Beans

Oaxacan Refried Black Beans

2¾ hours 35 minutes active

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Oaxacan Refried Black Beans

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In Oaxaca, black beans are a part of almost every meal. Though they sometimes are served whole, we especially liked the balanced, complex flavor and smooth, velvety consistency of refried black beans. We got a lesson in the importance of the daily basic from Rodolfo Castellanos, Oaxaca native and winner of Top Chef Mexico, and his mother. Lard gives these beans a rich meatiness, but coconut oil is a good vegetarian substitute. For a quicker version, see our pressure cooker variation. The beans can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. We liked this topped with cotija and fresh cilantro.

6

Servings

Tip

Don't soak the beans before cooking. Unlike other types of dried beans, black beans soften readily without soaking. And don't forget to reserve the bean cooking liquid; you'll need 2 cups when pureeing the beans in the food processor. And if you'll be making black bean soup, you'll need 3 cups to thin the beans. The liquid also is useful for thinning the beans when reheating (they thicken as they stand).

2¾ hours

35 minutes active

4 tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil, divided
1 large white onion, chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
5 guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole, plus 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon aniseed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Ingredients
  • 4

    tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil, divided

  • 1

    large white onion, chopped

  • 1

    pint grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 5

    guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded

  • 1

    pound dried black beans, rinsed

  • 10

    medium garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole, plus 5 medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 1

    teaspoon aniseed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 4

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 4

    teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1

    tablespoon ancho chili powder

  • 1

    teaspoon dried oregano

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large pot over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of lard until barely smoking. Add the onion, tomatoes and guajillo chilies, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beans, whole garlic cloves, bay and aniseed, then stir in 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover partially and reduce to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are completely tender, 1½ hours to 2 hours.
  2. 02
    Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Set a colander in a large bowl and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the bay leaves from the beans. Transfer the drained beans to a food processor and pulse a few times to break up the beans. With the machine running, add 1½ cups of the reserved cooking liquid and process until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Taste and season with salt, then set aside.
  3. 03
    In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining lard until shimmering. Add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder and oregano, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. 04
    Stir in the pureed beans and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes. Continue to cook and stir, adding reserved cooking water as needed, until the mixture has the consistency of mashed potatoes, 5 to 7 minutes. Off heat, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lard, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Tip: Don't soak the beans before cooking. Unlike other types of dried beans, black beans soften readily without soaking. And don't forget to reserve the bean cooking liquid; you'll need 2 cups when pureeing the beans in the food processor. And if you'll be making black bean soup, you'll need 3 cups to thin the beans. The liquid also is useful for thinning the beans when reheating (they thicken as they stand).
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Reviews
Wendy B.
July 1, 2022
OAXACAN REFRIED BLACK BEANS
FAVORITE RECIPE...freezes well too!
Carole C.

When you say lard, do you mean beef lard, or do you mean vegetable lard?

Janelle C.

Hi Carole,

Typically lard is made from pig fat. If you're looking for a meat-free substitute use coconut oil.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Ramona W.

Will these freeze well, or how long will they keep in the refrigerator?

Janelle C.

Hi Ramona,

You can freeze the beans, however, you may need to add a touch of olive oil or water once it thaws out. The beans can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Jose A.

If there is a Trader Joes around you, get some Black Forest Bacon, cook the bacon and keep the oil/fat. You can use the fat and it has lovely flavor and refrigerate if needed. Essentially you made yourself your own lard and it keeps for a while.

Steven S.

Can we double the recipe? And if so, can we use a pot for step 3 instead of a skillet?

Janelle C.

Hi Steven,

A pot should work!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Steven S.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Tom J.

There was a instapot alternative in the original magazine - can it be included online? Thanks!

Lynn C.

Hi Tom -
I think this may be the version you are looking for. It ran in our newsletter, I believe. https://www.177milkstreet.com/2020/05/instant-pot-black-beans

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Paula E R.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

reginald allen w.

Packed with flavor. Used half of recipe for soup and other half for tacos.

Jennie H.

Just finished and ate the beans, very flavorful. I did not presoak the beans, freshly ordered black beans from Gordo Rancho. I did find the skins on the beans with a bit more toughness than anticipated. The interiors were fully cooked. Do tomatoes added to the beans before they are fully cooked change the skin at all? I have read previously that may be the culprit.
If I do have access to dried avocado leaves (ordered online) would I add them after the beans are softened or add with the bay leaves? They are dried, so not sure they would rehydrate enough during the last steps of processing and refrying.


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Oaxacan Refried Black Beans

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

2¾ hours

35 minutes active

Tip

Don't soak the beans before cooking. Unlike other types of dried beans, black beans soften readily without soaking. And don't forget to reserve the bean cooking liquid; you'll need 2 cups when pureeing the beans in the food processor. And if you'll be making black bean soup, you'll need 3 cups to thin the beans. The liquid also is useful for thinning the beans when reheating (they thicken as they stand).

Ingredients
  • 4

    tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil, divided

  • 1

    large white onion, chopped

  • 1

    pint grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 5

    guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded

  • 1

    pound dried black beans, rinsed

  • 10

    medium garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole, plus 5 medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 1

    teaspoon aniseed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 4

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 4

    teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1

    tablespoon ancho chili powder

  • 1

    teaspoon dried oregano

Step 1 of 4

Boil the beans

4
tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil, divided
1
large white onion, chopped
1
pint grape or cherry tomatoes
5
guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
1
pound dried black beans, rinsed
10
medium garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole, plus 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
3
bay leaves
1
teaspoon aniseed

In a large pot over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of lard until barely smoking. Add the onion, tomatoes and guajillo chilies, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is well browned, 5 to 7 minutes.


Add the beans, whole garlic cloves, bay and aniseed, then stir in 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover partially and reduce to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are completely tender, 1½ hours to 2 hours.

Step 2 of 4

Process the bean mixture

Kosher salt

Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Set a colander in a large bowl and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the bay leaves from the beans.


Transfer the drained beans to a food processor and pulse a few times to break up the beans. With the machine running, add 1½ cups of the reserved cooking liquid and process until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Taste and season with salt, then set aside.

Step 3 of 4

Continue to cook

2
tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil
5
medium garlic cloves, minced
4
teaspoons ground cumin
4
teaspoons ground coriander
1
tablespoon ancho chili powder
1
teaspoon dried oregano

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining lard until shimmering. Add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder and oregano, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Step 4 of 4

Cook the beans to the proper consistency

Stir in the pureed beans and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.


Continue to cook and stir, adding reserved cooking water as needed, until the mixture has the consistency of mashed potatoes, 5 to 7 minutes.


Off heat, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lard, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

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