Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

Refried Beans

A few years ago a tradition began between my sister and I. It was called ‘nacho night’ and it usually involved watching a dvd, drinking red wine and eating nachos. Sounds good right? Well, it was, which is why we still do it. The country might have changed and the dvds might not be Twilight related anymore, but it’s still a nice way to spend a Friday night. When Old El Paso took their nacho kit off the market (in Sydney anyway) we tried many variations and brands and eventually settled upon the Old el Paso nacho topping which is really the best for quick and easy nachos.

Recently I went to make nachos for myself (sorry VC) and realised that I had none of the topping left in the cupboard. I had to come up with something else. I had my heart set on nachos, I’d bought the avocado, corn chips and everything. So I took control of the situation and made my own refried beans. It was pretty dire. No, I didn’t have pinto beans, no I didn’t have 2 hours to soak and cook them, no I didn’t have pork-fat – but did I let that stop me? No. So, as any good cook and greedy guts always does, I improvised. All of the recipes I found contained bacon, lard or pork. I didn’t have any of that on hand and I didn’t really want to make my nachoes more calorific than they already were. I had kidney beans and that was about it, even though the recipes called for pinto beans. I didn’t have high hopes for this meal considering all I had to work with was a dose of desperation and a can of kidney beans.

I have chosen not to post a photo of this recipe. Refried beans don’t look exceedingly appetising at the best of times so I don’t want to alienate anyone who might have made this but was put off by the photo. Even though they might not be authentic, they were still delicious. So much so that I thought they were worth sharing even without a photo.

Refried Beans Recipe


Can of kidney beans, or similar

Onion (diced)

garlic powder


chicken stock (a cube disolved in some hot water)

chilli powder (optional)


Fry off some diced onion in some oil. Add a pinch of garlic powder (half a tsp?) and a dash of cumin (half a tsp?) and saute for a minute (add the chilli here if you like).

Add the beans, about 1/4 cup of chicken stock and some of the liquid from the beans.

Cook until the beans are nice and hot and the flavours have matured and the liquid has mostly cooked off.

Take off the heat, and season.

Mash it till you get the texture you like, whether that be completely mashed or nice and chunky.




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