Start by sorting out the rocks and debris from the dried beans. I like to work on a light colored surface, so I can see clearly. Then scoop the beans into a container.
This is what I found in a 1 pound batch of pinto beans out of the bulk bin. I won't be buying my beans from the bulk bin again! It may be a good idea to sort through your beans 2 or 3 times.
Rinse the beans, then put in a crock pot with 6 cups of water. You can soak your beans overnight, but I don't. I didn't want to bother with the extra step.
Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
The beans are done when they form a thick sauce and are easy to mash.
Stir in the spices. I keep it simple, using salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Once the spices are in, mash the beans. You don't have to get them creamy, like mashed potatoes. Just a simple mash will do. If you are eating healthy, you can stop now and not fry your beans. They will be just fine. But since we are making Refried Beans I find it appropriate to fry them!
(A side note here. I really am not much of a teflon fan. The exception is my crock pots, which I use all the time. They are pricey at around $50. That being the case, I take care not to scratch them. I highly recommend Pampered Chef teflon masher, and scrapers.)
I fry a small batch at a time. Just what we are going to eat. There really is no measuring at this point. Just add a tablespoon, or two, of lard into a pan. If your pan is small, use 1 tablespoon. If the pan is large use 2 tablespoons. Heat the lard over medium high heat.
Spoon the beans, in an even layer. Sprinkle with a tablespoon, or two, of all purpose flour. Same measurement as above. Small pan, 1 tablespoon. Large pan, 2 tablespoons.
Flip sections of the floured beans over, to cook on the other side. You are gently folding the flour into the beans. Keep in mind, we are frying, not making pudding. Just keep things undisturbed as much as possible.
Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Let the cheese melt, as you turn off the heat and cover the pan.
This is what you end up with. Delicious, smooth, refried beans that taste just as good as what you would get in your favorite Mexican restaurant. Oh who am I kidding? They're better!
1 Pound dried pinto beans
6 Cups water
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
1 Teaspoon granulated garlic
Sort beans, removing any rocks and dirt. Rinse well. Place beans and water in a crock pot. Set the crock pot on high heat. Cover. Let beans cook until a thick sauce forms and beans can be mashed easily; about 6 hours. Stir in salt, pepper and garlic. Serve as is, or fry.
Mash beans, adding a little water if necessary, so they are smooth. Heat a frying pan to medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon lard. Spoon in beans, in an even layer. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Cook until beans are heated through; folding in flour as the beans cook. Cover with shredded cheese, if desired. Turn off heat and cover with a lid.