Monday, November 15

Refried beans and burrito folding 101...

Ok, let me get the burrito off my chest & I will give the Mexican thing a rest for a little while. But you have to try the burrito. It is just so far away from greasy heavy stodge-o-rama burritos you may have had in the past (unless your Mexican in which case this wont taste like your Mama's but try it anyway......) it would be a tragedy if you didn't try it. Not that I am given to hyperbole or anything..........

The beans do take a couple of hours to cook, but it is a very low maintenance couple of hours, just check the pot and top up with water if needs be, nothing too stressful. And the result is just so much better than canned beans you wont go back. They freeze beautifully, so make a batch & stock up. I warn you, nothing makes refried beans look good, but the taste more than compensates.

Refried Beans (frijoles refritos)-adapted from a Tale of 12 Kitchens by Jake Tilson (GREAT BOOK!)

 I use black turtle beans, they don’t need soaking, which I am never organised enough to remember, and cook in about 1 ½ -2 hours. The beans are also delish just cooked and thickened, without refrying, topped with sour cream and some grated cheese.
This makes enough for 6 burritos

1 cup dried black turtle beans
4 cloves of garlic
½ tsp oregano
½-1 dried chipotle chilli (or use a canned chipotle in adobe sauce)
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbsp oil (in Mexico they would use lard!)
2 tomatoes chopped

In a large pot simmer the beans, garlic, oregano, half the onion, and the chipotle chilli in plenty of water (I used about 4 cups) for 30 minutes.

Add the oil, and continue cooking for about another hour, until the beans are soft. Top up with hot water when they are getting low. Add salt once the beans are soft (not before, or the skins toughen)
In a small pan fry the remaining half an onion with the chopped tomato, until the onion is soft. Add a ladle of the beans and some liquid to the frying pan, then mash using a potato masher. Add this mix back into the pot of beans and stir it in, the bean mixture will thicken up

At this point you can serve the beans with sour cream, salsa and cheese, or remove the chilli, add a splash of oil to a larger frying pan and tip all the beans into it. Add chilli flakes if you want it hotter. Mash with your potato masher, and cook gently until all the liquid has evaporated and you have a thick bean mix.

Use in burritos, tostada or serve with rice and salsa.

Burrito with corn and courgette

A few years ago I started adding corn fried up with chilli and spring onions to my tacos. Then I came across a recipe in Thomasina Miers fantastic Mexican Food cookbook, which adds courgette to the mix. This is really lovely and fresh, and the refried beans and feta cheese add substance

For 6 burritos

1 Tbsp oil
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained (or fresh cut from the cob in season)
2 courgettes, diced into 1 cm cubes (or thereabouts!)
1 fresh red chilli
3 spring onions
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
Handful of chopped mint
Handful of chopped coriander
Squeeze of lime juice

Refried beans
Chopped tomato
Feta cheese
Avocado (optional)
Fresh flour tortillas of flatbreads
Sour cream to serve

Heat the oil over medium heat in a fry pan and add the corn, courgette, chilli and spring onions, with salt and pepper to taste. Fry for 5-10 mins until the corn is starting to colour, and the courgette is cooked. Take off the heat and stir in the mint and coriander, along with the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit , I like plenty of lime and chilli.

To assemble the burrito, take your tortilla, and spread a couple of tablespoons of the bean mix in the middle. Top with the corn mixture, chopped tomato, a crumble of feta cheese and chopped avocado if you like it cooked (I don’t!)

Fold the two edges together, then bring the bottom flap up to form a pocket. Fold forward to encase your filling completely.

Place in a dry non stick pan over medium heat, and cook each side until golden brown. You can also do this in a sandwich/Panini grill, which makes these a great lunch option for work. You will make everyone in the lunch room very envious, and the food police will leave you alone as they don't really smell very strongly

Take off the heat, slice in half diagonally and serve with sour cream, and salsa and guacamole if you like.

You can also add chopped cooked chicken, beef, pork or prawns to this, if you want more protein, but the beans do make it quite substantial.

The Iroquois call corn, beans and squash the Three Sisters, believing they only grow really well when planted together. The beans, which need support, grow up the corn, in turn stabilising it, and fix nitrogen in the soil for the following year’s crop. The squash provides mulch coverage, retaining moisture in the soil, and also spiny protection for the corn and beans. When eaten together the corn provides carbs, while the amino acids in the beans, which corn lacks, form protein, which when combined with the squash create a balanced diet without the need for meat. This is my attempt, peas instead of beans, and no squash, as my half barrel isn't big enough......

What amazes me is how they figured that out, thousands of years before chemistry sets and NZ Gardener? Is there anything more fascinating than food, I think not.......


  1. I can see this would be a favourite of Ps, we both love pulses. How did the dinner go on Saturday?

  2. i'm gonna track down some of those beans and make this, love a bit of mexican !! love SOUR CREAM !!!!

  3. Very well thanks Pease, although I was exhausted Sat night, 20 minutes into the League and I was asleep (the snoring was just a vicious rumour however....)
    Pod the beans should be easy to find, my food store has them, but I think any Indian store would be a good bet also, so yummy!

  4. These beans are delicious. These would def count as healthy lunch :)


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