Monday, August 1, 2011

Do they have beans in Heaven?

I'm not sure, and I reckon nobody reading this is too sure, either. I can only say that I hope there are beans in Heaven, and I bet they're made using the recipe I'm about to share. I'll let you know when I get there.

I love beans and eat them all the time. They're tasty and a seriously cheap, filling source of protein and fiber. Black beans have long been my personal favorite, but I'm starting to accept kidney beans as a close second. I made a new bean recipe last night and it was amazing. Amazing! The cookbook calls them refried beans, but they are NOTHING like the gross, gelatinous bean glob you get from a can. This may just be my new favorite way to cook beans, although I made a few changes. This would be great as a burrito filling or just as a dip.

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Clove (adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper, p.135)

olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly (I chopped the onion in half and then sliced the halves. It's easier to keep the onion still that way.)
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded & white membranes removed, finely diced (You can leave the seeds/white membranes if you like things pretty spicy. You could also omit this completely or substitute a hotter pepper if you want.)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (or more, to taste) (Ground cloves were $5.29 for a tiny jar at my grocery store, so I opted to use some pumpkin pie spice that I already had at home. It was a great substitute if you don't want to spend that much on ground cloves.)
one 14-oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained
two 14.5 oz. cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I use the dark ones because they're a prettier color, but light ones would work just as well.)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp. butter
salt, to taste

*Pour a generous amount of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic about 5 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent.
*Add the jalapeno, cinnamon, and cloves/pumpkin pie spice. Cook about 1 minute, being careful not to burn the spices. Add the tomatoes, crushing them once they're in the pan. Saute for another minute.
*Stir in the beans and water. Bring to a slow boil, smushing the beans as they cook. (I just used the back of the plastic spoon I was using to stir, but I reckon a potato masher would work great, too.) Scrape the bottom of the pan often to make sure the beans don't stick.
*Simmer until the beans are thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter, and add salt & pepper as needed.

I ate this as a dip, with tortilla chips and some of my beloved Cholula hot sauce (found on the Mexican food aisle). Try this if you're looking for a unique new way to fix beans!


  1. Julie,
    I too like beans and am alway lookimg for new recipes but what i most like about your post is your use of adjectives! Seriously? "gross, gelatinous bean glob" I love it! I bet every single one of your students write amazing stories!
    Hope your week goes well! Are you on the countdown or are you in that denial stage where you don't want anyone to mention the "S" word.

  2. I know you are not a fan of the "gross" refried beans (neither am I really) but you should give real pinto beans a whirl...they are quite tasty when you make them yourself :) Don't be scared Julie!

    - Manda

  3. Annesta, "gross, gelatinous bean glob" was the best way I could think of to describe the canned stuff! And I just WISH my students loved using adjectives as much as I do. Maybe I can train my new students from the very beginning. I'll keep you posted!

    I'm flipping between denial (because I don't want summer to end) and acceptance (because I realize that school starts next week and I've got to be ready!). I'm trying to balance tasks this week...we'll see how it goes!

    Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you have a lovely week!


  4. Manda, I'm glad to find someone else who isn't a fan of the canned goo. You know, we really do think alike sometimes. After making these I thought to myself, "Self, you really should make your own refried beans!" I like pinto beans but have just never really thought about it. Do you have a recipe you like or do you just mush 'em up? Let me know, and thanks for stopping by! I would love to see you soon...miss ya!


  5. What a fortunate coincidence! Did you see this:

    Doesn't look like the stuff in a can to me!

    - Manda

  6. Manda, I saw that too and I just may try it! I'll wait until the temperature drops below 4,000 outside, though. The thought of keeping a pot simmering on the stove for hours on end in August makes me sweat. Thanks for sharing, and I'll be sure to give it a shot when fall comes! Miss ya oodles!



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