Yum! These are sooo easy to make and delicious and they make your home smell wonderful as they cook. Don’t buy another can of that brown paste that passes for refried beans. Make your own and feel completely satisfied with yourself.
It all starts with fresh beans. To make the beans, just clean them (take out any ugly, shriveled, unsightly beans and rocks, beans have rocks in them), wash them, cover them with water and simmer them in a big covered pot until they are tender (about 2 hours or so). Watch the water level and keep them covered with water as they cook. If you need to add more water be sure and add boiling water. If you wanted to, you could throw some salt pork in there or bacon or a ham bone left over from your holiday ham (which is delicious on an unbelievable scale). For fat free beans, don’t add anything… they will still be a gazillion times better than anything you can get from a can and oh so much better for you.
My Mom and Grandma added a little flour to the oil to make a roux as a thickener for the beans. I used to do this too, but somewhere along the line I discovered that I didn’t need to do this and that my beans were still plenty “thickened”. Yay, fewer steps to great beans! Mmmmm, I loves me my beans!
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