I make these beans to remember Oaxaca.1 Every meal came with tortillas and a bowl of thick, saucy black beans. I still dream about breakfast – fried eggs with salsa, tortillas, and a small dish of these black beans on the side.
This is how I make those beans at home. I add 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds to replace the sprig of fresh epazote that flavors every pot of beans in Oaxaca. And, I refry them, to thicken up the sauce even more. I’m aiming for some whole beans in a thick sauce, not perfectly smooth beans with this recipe. 2
And, of course, I use my pressure cooker. Refried beans in about an hour? Instead of simmering all day? That’s a no brainer. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, check out the Notes section for stovetop instructions.)
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Refried Black Beans
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot electric PC)
- Large fry pan
Pressure Cooker Refried Black Beans – easy frijoles refritos from dried beans in about an hour.
- 1 cup black beans (7 ounces), sorted and rinsed
- 1 small onion, peeled or 1/2 of a medium onion
- 1/4 teaspoon dried fennel seeds or 1 sprig fresh epazote
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon chipotle puree (or 1 chipotle en adobo with sauce, minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- More salt for seasoning
- Pressure cook the beans: Stir the beans, onion, fennel, salt, and water in the pressure cooker pot. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring it up to high pressure. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in a stove top pressure cooker, or 35 minutes in an electric pressure cooker. Turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and discard the onion. (Save the beans and the cooking liquid).
- Sauté the aromatics: While the pressure is coming down on the beans: heat the vegetable oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, smashed garlic cloves, chipotle en adobo, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onions are browned around the edges, about five minutes. If the beans aren’t done, turn the heat off and move the pan to a cool burner. When the beans are done, put the pan back over medium-high heat and continue with step 3.
- Fry the beans: Add the beans and all of their cooking liquid to the fry pan. Be careful – the hot oil may splatter when the wet beans are added. Start mashing the beans, stirring as you go to get the onions evenly distributed. Keep cooking the beans, stirring occasionally, until the beans thicken, about eight minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. (If the beans taste flat or boring, they probably need more salt).
- These are rustic, chunky refried beans. If you want smooth beans, use a food processor. After step 1 is complete, pour the beans and their liquid into a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- If you want to speed up the pressure cooking, soak the beans overnight in 1 quart of water. Drain the beans, use the recipe as written (including the 3 cups of water in the pressure cooker), but cut the time under pressure to 15 minutes.
- No pressure cooker? No problem. Cook the beans in a large sauce pot with a lid. Instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover with the lid ajar so some steam can escape. Cook for 2 hours, or until the beans are completely cooked. You may have to add water during the cooking time to keep the beans submerged. Once the beans are cooked, continue with Step 2.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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