These beans are my baby. My pride and joy. I've spent YEARS making this recipe, folks. Years. I've been making them a long time and have tweaked the recipe here and there until I got it exactly how I want it. I've achieved perfect refried beans status*.
All these years it was the half an ONION I was missing. THE ONION!!!! Very important.
Perfect Refried Beans:
2 cups of dried pinto beans
half an onion (still in half)
6 slices of bacon or a bit of salt pork (optional: but highly recommended)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tbsp pork lard, bacon fat, vegetable shortening or olive oil (for vegetarian option)
salt to taste
Put the beans, half an onion, and the bacon into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a full boil then lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to check the water level and make sure it doesn't get too low. I usually keep a boiled jug of water on hand and add extra water several times. Add in the spices and simmer for 30 more minutes.
Remove the bacon and the onion and strain the beans reserving 1 cup of the bean broth.
Add the lard/fat/oil to a wide sturdy frying pan on medium heat. Add the strained beans and some of the bean broth to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans until they become a thick puree/paste. Continue to add more bean broth until you've reached your desired consistency. Add salt to taste. (They need a lot of salt)
(Optional: Instead of mashing them, I like to use a stick blender to puree them, then add them to the pan to refry. It's faster and I prefer a smoother consistency)
Serving suggestion: Serve warm with some shredded cheddar cheese on top and a dollop of sour cream alongside your favorite Mexican dish.
In my humble opinion ;)