If I had to pick one Mexican dish as my comfort food, it would be these beans. My fondest memories of these have to be when we used to visit my grandparents on Wednesdays when I was younger. Dad always used to pick us up from school and we’d head over to visit them every week. She’d always have some beans waiting on the stove or in the fridge. My dad learned to make these beans from her and has taught me how to make them because I love them so much. My husband didn’t really like beans because it wasn’t something he ate growing up but his love for these babies has grown over the years and he enjoys them.
I’ve tried other refried beans or mashed beans before but they aren’t the same. For years I couldn’t understand why other beans were dry, bland or just not as good as my dad’s. I thought I was being picky but then I noticed how other people enjoyed my dad’s beans as much as I did. He showed me how he made them just like my grandma did and now I’m going to share them with you. I found cooking them in the crock pot is easiest.
This recipe is a little different from other ones you’ve seen.
They’re not fried- These aren’t fried in a pan with fat like traditional preparations are and it’s not missed.
No soaking– I never soak the beans! They cook fine and don’t need it, my dad never soaked them either so to me, it’s an unnecessary step.
The bean combo– Peruvian beans have this soft, silky texture when they’re cooked and just mash into this beautiful beany goodness. Pinto beans are more starchy so this combo is perfect, but you can certainly do one or the other.
Bacon fat– Since you’re not pan frying them you’ll be cooking the beans in the fat. The bacon fat just gives it a smoky, porky flavor but you can substitute with regular lard or butter (it just won’t be the same).
Milk– The beans are creamy once they’re mashed but this just adds to that.
Cheddar cheese– This is just self explanatory, who doesn’t love cheese? Plus it just adds an extra layer of flavor. You can leave it out if you want
to be evil.
No spices– I personally think they don’t need cumin, oregano, chili powder or anything like that because the bacon fat and garlic are enough.
I’m telling you, these beans are delicious! I didn’t take very many pictures because, well, they’re just beans. These would be amazing in a 7 layer dip, on nachos, as a side dish, in a burrito….the possibilities are endless! One trick my dad always did was when the beans were starting to dry out, he’d heat them up and add a splash of milk to perk them back up. Just make sure to stir the milk into the beans or else it will burn on the bottom and burnt beans are no Bueno.
Serves 6-8 people
- 1 cup pinto beans
- 1 cup Peruvian beans
- 4 cups water
- 1 medium garlic clove, whole
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 2 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
- Measure out beans and pour them onto a clean surface. Pick out any rocks and look carefully for any small ones. This is an important step!
- Put beans into a strainer and rinse until the water runs clear. Put beans into a crock pot along with garlic clove, bacon fat and salt. Pour water over beans.
- Set crock pot on low and cook for 6-8 hours.
- Mash the beans with a potato masher or emersion blender until they’re smooth. You can leave some chunks in there for texture or blend until creamy. Add in milk and cheese and stir.
- Cover beans and let sit for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.