I was rather intrigued when Mel posted a recipe for homemade refried beans last week. I'm not typically the girl who reaches for dried beans (unless we are talking about lentils), but the recipe looked so easy. Since the crock pot (or slow cooker, as is called in this neck of the woods) was going to do the work, I signed myself up for this task. It was ridiculously easy, and she is right--the results are uber smooth and really delicious. I thought they needed some umph, so I did a bit of adapting, but I did leave some plain beans aside for my kids.
As I was making the beans, I remembered a fantastic looking rice casserole I pinned awhile back that I had been wanting to try. Since we all know I love me some beans and rice, the time was right. This rice. OH, this rice. It is go-oo-ood. Creamy, cheesy, and full of those wonderful little diced green chiles. It would be the perfect (make ahead!) side dish to any Mexican meal, but I decided these beans and rice belonged together, wrapped in a warm flour tortilla and dipped in salsa. I loved this combo together so much that I even went to the trouble to heat the leftovers up (making us late for afternoon preschool drop off), wrap in foil Chipotle style, and scarf down while driving in the car. I am worth the trouble of a good hot lunch, and so are you.
Crockpot Refried Beans
-adapted from melskitchencafe.com
-1 lb dried pinto beans
-1 t. salt (plus more for later)
-1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, and chopped
-1 large onion (white or yellow), cut into large chunks
-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
-1 T. white vinegar
-1/4 t. chipotle chili powder (This was my addition. Or some cumin, or regular chili powder, or whatever you like. Jazz it up if you want some flair)
Rinse the beans and remove any that are shriveled. Place in large pot, cover with a couple inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 min. Drain beans, and place in slow cooker along with onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Cover with about 2 inches of fresh water. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or until beans are tender. Remove about a cup of the cooking liquid (and reserve) and drain the beans. Place in a food processor, add the vinegar, salt, a splash of the cooking liquid and puree until they are the consistency you enjoy (adding more cooking liquid as necessary). I had to do this in 2 batches because my food processor isn't big enough. If this happens to you, divide the vinegar among the two batches. Season with salt and pepper, and whatever else you like. I returned mine to the crockpot to keep warm until dinner (about a half hour later). Mel says you can freeze these in small batches, so that you can use as you would canned refried beans. While this sounds like a great idea to me, I didn't have any left to freeze after we ate dinner and lunch the next day. Maybe next time.
OK, now the rice.
Cheesy Green Chile Rice
-adapted from tastykitchen.com
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 t. cumin
- 1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup rice (white or brown. I used brown)
- enough vegetable or chicken stock to cook the rice in per package instructions (should be about 2 cups)
- 2 scallions, white/light green parts, chopped
- 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt (or a bit more if you want. I probably added closer to 1/2 c.)
- 1 c. cheese of your choice (I used Monterey Jack)
- 2 cans diced green chiles
- salt/pepper to taste
Heat olive oil and saute cumin and green pepper for 3-5 min or until softened. Add the rice, and stir to toast for about 2 minutes. Pour in broth and scallions, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer according to package instructions. When rice is done, stir in green chiles, Greek yogurt, and half of the cheese. Pour into 8" square baking dish and sprinkle with rest of cheese. At this point, you can stick it in the fridge for a couple of days. When you are ready to bake, remove and cook at 400 degrees for about 20 min, or until hot and gooey. If you'd rather, you can put this in a cast iron skillet (or something you can broil, not a glass pan) when still hot and throw under the broiler to melt/toast cheese. Your call.