Refried beans are actually darn easy. They are also much better - surprise! - than the canned ones given you can vary them quite a bit to accommodate your taste. And in this case I'm accommodating what I have quite a lot of at the moment: leafy brassicas. Yes, it's that time of year when the bok choy, mizuna and friends are going gangbusters. If you aren't growing your own I'm sure you'll be able to find some at a farmers' market (in Hobart, please support our growers at Salamanca and Farm Gate) or greengrocer. So here's how to make a generous and satisfying pot of refried beans that is also packed with nutrients and fibre.
350g (2 cups) dry beans: borlotti and pinto are my favourites for refried beans
1 Tbs oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 red capsicum, chopped into fingernail-sized pieces
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp garlic (powder, granules or fresh minced)
2 tsp mild paprika
1 tsp oregano
handful of celery leaves, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs vinegar
3/4 cup liquid from cooking beans
1 bok choy or equivalent amount of leafy greens, shredded
1. Soak beans overnight. Drain, cover with fresh water and cook until beginning to fall apart. In a pressure cooker this is about 30 mins, longer on a stove top.
Drain beans and reserve the liquid.
2. Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and red capsicum for 3 minutes.
3. Add the dry spices - cumin, garlic, oregano - and fry another minute.
4. Add the drained beans, celery leaves, salt, vinegar and about 3/4 cup of bean liquid. Stir the mixture well and mush the beans. Keep doing this until the beans have reached your desired level of smoothness; I like mine to stay a little chunky for texture.
5. Toss in the shredded bok choy or greens and mix them through the beans, cover the pot and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Serve with rice or a fresh tortilla, some hot salsa and a crisp garnish.
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