Mexican Frijoles Refritos (Refried Beans)
1⁄2 pound pinto beans, washed
1⁄4 white onion, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup chopped white onion
Prepare the beans: Bring beans to a boil with onions, oil, salt, and 5 cups water in a 21⁄2-quart pot. Lower flame and simmer 21⁄2–3 hours, until very tender, skimming occasionally and adding water if necessary to keep it brothy.
Fry the beans (about 4 cups cooked beans with broth): Cook the onions in the oil until translucent in a 10-inch skillet (iron is best), then add the beans (broth included) 1 cup at a time, mashing with a wooden spoon over high heat. Constantly mash and stir until beans dry out and sizzle around the edges. They should start coming away from the surface of the pan. Rock the pan back and forth to make sure they loosen, and turn them out, omelet style, onto a warm serving platter.
Garnish with radishes, lettuce, shredded queso blanco (a fresh Mexican cheese sold in most Hispanic food sections), or feta cheese. Accompany with Mexican Rice (see Chapter 6).