How I make what my family refers to as “the best refried beans ever” I actually learned how to do this from a sweet Mexican acquaintance in southern Idaho. Eating canned beans just can’t compare to real beans.
Rinse one small bag of the beans of your choice. Our favorite is pinto, but black beans are also good done this way. Place rinsed beans in large crock pot and cover with water. Since I am one that eyes and tastes her food instead of following a hard recipe, I can’t give you exact measurements, but the way I do it is to cover the beans with water, so that the water above the beans is about the same depth as the beans at the bottom. It will look like about 1/2 to an inch of water above the beans.
Add two or three cloves of garlic. It can be minced or whole, doesn’t matter really, it will be completely mush by the time you’re done. I’ve heard this helps with the gas effect of the beans, not sure of the validity of that promise, but it sure does make them taste good.
DON’T SALT your beans until they are cooked. Salt added to the water hampers the skins from softening, and your beans will not mash the same as if you wait. Trust me.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Personally, I like the longer, slower cook time better, but either works. If you didn’t add enough water and it looks like the beans are drying out, just add some more…but make sure it’s hot water, as cold water can cause your crock pot to break from rapid temp change.
When they are soft and mushy, add salt to taste, and mash them up. If it looks like you have too much liquid, you can drain some off, but I find it unnecessary to do so, you’ll probably just end up adding it back in to make them a good consistency…if they ARE too runny, no problem, just leave the lid off and continue to let them cook down.
It’s not often possible at our house, but we have found the beans are actually better after being refrigerated overnight and reheated. It really demands a lot of willpower, though, usually we dig right in.
Pair these yummilicious beans with homemade corn tortillas, and top with cheese and salsa or fresh tomatoes for a frugal, filling, healthy meal.