Monday, December 3, 2007

Hand-Mashed Pinto Beans with Cheese

You can't have a Mexican meal without beans, and this wonderful recipe is from Bon Appetit. It takes a long time to cook, but you don't need to be watching it all the time. Once the beans are cooked, it will take about 15 minutes to prepare it. Sure, you can use canned pinto beans, but try not to; it will taste so much better. These taste so much different than canned beans that once you make it, you will never go back to cans:)

If you don't want to use lard, which I don't, use bacon drippings from about 1/2 lb bacon. You can even crumble it into the beans.

I use chicken stock instead of using only water, to me it is much more tastier.

And I use a stick blender instead of mashing the beans which gives it a softer texture. Just be careful to do it in a deep pot, otherwise you will get it all over you:)



1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed
10 cups (or more) cold water
2 cups chopped green onions (about 8)
1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup lard or corn oil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups (packed) coarsely grated queso manchego* or Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
Warm corn tortillas

Place beans in heavy large pot. Add 10 cups water, green onions, and 1 tablespoon lard. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer until beans are just tender, about 55 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Cover partially and continue to simmer until beans are very soft, adding more water by cupfuls if water level falls below top of beans, about 20 minutes longer.

Heat remaining 1/3 cup lard in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add white onion and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer beans to skillet. Mash with potato masher to coarse, lumpy puree. Mix in enough bean cooking liquid (about 1/2 cup) to moisten. Mix in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 30 minutes. Cover beans and liquid separately and refrigerate. Rewarm beans over low heat, mixing in bean cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry.)

Serve beans warm with tortillas.

*Light yellow, semi-soft mild cheese that is different from the aged Spanish cheese of the same name. Substitute mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Muenster. Choose the cheese you are using carefully as it does influence the taste greatly.

Makes 6 servings.

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