Refried beans (frijoles refritos) is a dish of cooked and
mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and
Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a somewhat
different approach when making the dish.
Ingredients and preparation
Mexico and in American Tex-Mex cuisine, refried beans are
usually prepared with pinto beans, but many other varieties
of bean are used in other parts of Mexico, such as black or
red beans. The raw beans can be cooked when dry or
soaked overnight, then stewed, drained of most of the
remaining liquid, and converted into a paste with a masher
(such as a potato masher, or pressed through a fine mesh
sieve (to remove the skins), or simply with a fork (or the
back of a large flat spoon).
Some of the drained liquid, or chicken or vegetable stock, is
added if the consistency is too dry. The paste is then
fried with lard or vegetable oil and seasoned to taste with
salt and spices. For vegetarians, or in cases when
lard is unavailable, it can be replaced with oil.
In a home meal, refried beans
typically serve as the main food accompanied by smaller,
more strongly flavored dishes, but they may also be served
as a side dish accompanying a larger meal, or rolled in a
tortilla to form a bean burrito.
In the US, refried beans are most commonly made from pinto
beans. They are served as a side-dish with most Tex-Mex
restaurant meals. They also have become very popular as a
dip for corn tortilla chips. Refried beans are also a
primary ingredient in many tostada, chimichanga, and pupusa
recipes. In addition, they are a typical ingredient in
layered dips, such as seven layer dip, in nachos, and are
especially implied when a dish is referred to as nachos
grande or burrito grande.
The name is based on a
mistranslation. In Mexican Spanish, the prefix re- is
an informal form of emphasis meaning "very" or "well", not
to be confused with the English re- and formal use of the
Spanish prefix re-, which indicates repetition. Thus,
frijoles refritos, the Spanish name of this dish, would
translate to English as "well-fried beans," not "twice-fried
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