refried (not really) black beans

I have to tell you, these beans are AMAZING!  This is one of my favorite recipes in part because I LOVE black beans, in part because it is so easy, but mostly because I am so proud of it.  I totally winged these – I had friends in town and was watching Willa, so I didn’t do any research, didn’t spend much time on them and I knocked out of the park on my first shot – usually I have to make a recipe at least 3 times before I’m happy with it.  PLEASE make these so you can enjoy them as much as I do (and so I can say, “I told you so!”).

This recipe calls for 3 tbs of bacon grease.  I collect grease in a cute little Kerr jar and keep it in my fridge for occasions such as these.  If you don’t collect bacon grease in a cute little jar, you really should start.  At least use an ugly jar.  What you definitely should NOT do is pour that grease in your sink.  Terrible for the pipes.  As bad for your home’s plumbing as it is for your internal plumbing.  So make sure you enjoy bacon and/ or it’s grease only rarely and keep it from the plumbing.  The easiest way to do this is to wait until it cools (pop it in the fridge to speed up the process) and then throw it in the garbage.


1 lb dried black beans

4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable or beef stock)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 tbs bacon grease (or vegetable oil)
1 tbs salt
1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs cumin
2 tbs finely chopped chipotle in adobo sauce
2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1 bay leaf

  1. rinse and sort beans, removing any puckered beans and keeping an eye out for pebbles
  2. put beans in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water.  soak for at least 4 hours or overnight (you can speed up this process by soaking for 1 hour in boiling water, but the texture never comes out the same)
  3. drain and rinse beans, put in a slow cooker, add chicken stock, bay leaf and fresh oregano
  4. heat bacon grease in a good sized skillet over medium high heat until hot, add chopped onion and cook until onion softens (about 8 minutes).
  5. add cumin, salt, pepper and chipotle and stir for a minute to evenly distribute the ingredients
  6. add the onion mixture to the slow cooker, stir and cook covered on high heat for 3 hours or until beans are tender
  7. strain out as much liquid as possible (but save it – works great as a stock for chili or other hearty, earth meals) and discard the bay leaf
  8. add 5 cups of the cooked beans and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to a blender and blend until smooth
  9. put the blended beans back into the pot and mix thoroughly with the whole beans – now you have refried beans without frying anything!