Molly's Refried Beans

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“The original refried bean recipe my great-grandma Molly used to prepare. She always used pink beans, which I prefer, too but since they are more difficult to find nowadays, substitute pinto or black beans. I dictated this recipe from my mother and she said her grandmother used manteca (lard) available from the butcher, or my version is to fry up a few slices of bacon and reserve the drippings. If you're looking for a low fat recipe, this isn't it. (I've posted a vegetarian version of these beans: Bisabuelita's Crock Pot Refried Beans (Vegetarian))”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In large pot soak the beans for at least 4 hours. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until soft.
  2. If necessary, add more water as needed so that the beans do not dry out while cooking. Once beans are cooked, drain beans but *RESERVE* liquid.
  3. Fry up the bacon slices in large cast iron skillet and set aside to drain on paper towel. Reserve drippings.
  4. Meanwhile, mince the onion and garlic.
  5. *Heat a cast iron skillet on medium and saute the onion and garlic in the bacon drippings or solid lard until soft.
  6. With slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beans to the skillet. Lower temperature to low-medium. Add about a cup of the bean liquid and mix in the beans with the onion and garlic. Begin to mash the beans with a potato masher, adding more bean liquid as necessary to facilitate. Great grandma prepared these beans soupy with about 3/4 of the beans mashed, the remaining left whole. That is how great-grandma cooked them and that is how I like them. Keep mashing beans and adding liquid until soupy and not dry. Lower heat to simmer. Do not allow beans to dry out, adding more bean liquid if needed.
  7. Crumble the bacon and stir into the beans. Season with salt. Taste and reseason with more salt if necessary. Beans seems to require a good amount of salt to bring out their flavor.
  8. *NOTE: If you choose to use a cast iron skillet be warned that the iron content will turn lighter colored beans an unattractive pinkish-grey color. This will not affect the taste at all other than adding a bit of extra iron to your diet. If preferred, cook beans in a non-reactive pot.
  9. Save the bean liquid to rehydrate and reheat any leftovers, but *DO NOT* use plain water to reheat the beans.

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