What is the best way to prepare pinto beans?
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Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.
Rinse the beans. Cover them with cold water -- I usually cover beans with at least 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the water simmers. Season with salt (some people don't recommend salting until the end, but I like to do it in the beginning). Simmer the beans until tender, about 2 hours. Check the beans after 1 hour. Cooking times vary.
My favorite way of preparing pinto beans is to use a crockpot to make a healthier version of refried beans. Rinse and wash the dried pinto beans and add them to the crockpot. Peel and quarter an onion and add it to the beans along with 1 tsp. cumin powder and 1 chipotle pepper (I use the canned ones that are in adobo sauce and usually add a spoonful of the adobo sauce along with the chipotle pepper). Pour enough cold water into the crockpot to cover the beans by 2 inches and cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, or once the beans are soft enough, scoop them out of the crockpot with a slotted spoon into a blender/food processor. Add a few spoonfuls of the remaining water to the blender/processor and process until the beans have the consistency of re-fried beans, adding more of the cooking water as needed. Return the blended beans to the crockpot (you can throw out the remaining water) and add some shredded cheddar. Salt to taste and serve, or keep warm in the crockpot. Enjoy!
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I will politely disagree and say that if the beans are not refried, well they are something else. Lard tastes good, and in many ways its good for you. But refrito means "re-fried". You can't quite replicate that in a slow cooker. And the lard is the flavor delivery system.
You're right, Pierino, it's not the same as refried beans, but I think the flavor and texture are somewhat similar. Though you miss the taste of lard (which I like), you instead have fat from the cheese and a nice smokey flavor (and kick of heat) from the chipotle. I like refried beans (I'm a native Angeleno, so it's in my blood!), but I've found the crockpot and blender method easy and tasty, if tasty in a slightly different way. I don't make my beans this way because of health concerns, but because of ease and taste.
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Good luck with your cooking.
Thanks, Pierino. I am still quite enamored with your Kalbi style flank steak... reminds me so much of the Korean BBQ I devoured when still in LA :)