Refried Beans of Choice

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I’m not so fond of pinto beans and prefer to use black beans, but hey, the choice is yours. Be sure to soak them overnight and change the water before you cook them. Again, bacon fat or lard is the preferred fat for frying, but if the food police have brainwashed you, use vegetable oil. “Refried” is a misnomer since the beans are only fried once, but I’m not going to quibble and call them “Recooked Beans.” Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.


2 cups black or pinto beans, sorted and rinsed clean

Water to cover

1/4 cup chopped serrano or jalapeño chiles, seeds and stems removed

Bacon fat, lard, or vegetable oil as needed for frying


Cover the beans with water and soak overnight. Drain the beans.

Cover the beans with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beans are done, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add the chiles during the last 1/2 hour. Drain the beans completely.

In a large skillet, using a large fork, mash the beans as completely as possible. Move the beans to one side of the skillet and add about two tablespoons of the cooking fat of choice. Fry the beans in the fat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Cuban Beans and Rice

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This is yet another variation of the classic and popular dish, black beans and rice or “Moors and Christians.” The recipe gets its name from the black of the beans and white of the rice. Not only a great entree, it can also be used as a filling for tacos and for burritos. Red kidney beans can be substituted in the recipe for a slightly different taste.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in wedges and separated
1 small green bell pepper, cut in strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 habanero chiles, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup long-grain raw white rice
1 small tomato, cut into wedges
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and liquid reserved
Salt to taste


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and habanero in the oil until the onions are softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and black pepper.
Add the rice to the pan and saute until the rice becomes opaque. Stir in the tomato and beans.
Pour the bean liquid into a measuring cup and add enough water to make 2 2 cups. Add to the rice and bean mixture, stirring once. Cover the pan and cook on low for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done.
To serve, remove the bay leaves and ladle onto a platter and serve with warmed flour tortillas.

Bodacious Biscuits & Beans

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Rick Browne, Ph.B., host of the PBS show “Barbecue America” and the author of The Best Barbecue on Earth and nine other books, is supplying articles and recipes to the Fiery Foods& Barbecue SuperSite.


2 cans Bush’s Bourbon & Brown Sugar Grillin’ Beans
2 cans Bush’s Authentic Smokehouse Tradition Grillin’ Beans
1 large can mandarin orange segments, undrained
1 cup golden raisins
1 Pippin apple, minced
1/2 cup cane syrup (or molasses)
1/2 cup Sprite soda
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 (8-ounce) package refrigerated biscuits


In a large mixing bowl gently combine the beans, mandarin orange slices, raisins, apple, cane syrup, Sprite, onion, mustard, spices, ketchup and orange juice. Pour mixture into a large cast-iron skillet.

Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and put into a BBQ (or oven) and bake at 300 degrees F for 1 hour.  

Remove the aluminum foil cover, then cover the beans with rounds of ready-to-cook refrigerated biscuits and bake about 10 minutes longer, or until the biscuits puff up and are browned.

Serve the skillet at the table, giving each person a spoonful of biscuit and a heaping portion of beans.

Smoky Black Beans

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Meaty, slow-cooked beans make an appearance on Latin and Caribbean plates from Little Havana to Little Haiti and everywhere in between. Some are served with rice, some are stewed with every flavorful cut of meat that fits in the pot, as in Brazilian feijoada. What most versions have in common is the richness and smoky flavor of pork. My simplified version uses bacon and ham hocks for loads of flavor with a minimal amount of fuss. Starting with dried beans takes some advance prep, but it is an easy way to achieve authentic results! Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.


  • 14 oz. dried black beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 5 strips center cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 ham hocks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream, hot sauce, fresh cilantro and chopped scallions, for serving (optional)


Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the beans, ginger, bay leaves, ham hocks and enough water to cover by 2 inches.
 Turn the heat up to high in order to bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer. Cook for 2 hours or until the beans are tender. During the cooking time, stir the beans occasionally and use a spoon to skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface. If the water evaporates before the beans finish cooking, add just enough to keep them mostly covered. By the time the beans are done, the majority of the water should evaporate, creating a thick consistency.

Remove the giner, ham hocks and bay leaves from the pan. Stir the bacon pieces into the beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing the sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro and scallions for guests to garnish as they like.

Green Beans with Paprika

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This sinfully rich dish is typical of the way that vegetables were prepared in the past, before anyone cared about cholesterol. Serve these creamy beans as an accompaniment to simple roasted meats.


  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter or lard

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons mild Hungarian paprika (or 1 teaspoon each mild and hot paprika)

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut diagonally into 1- 1/2-inch slices

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup pure sour cream (containing no additives)

  • 1 tablespoon flour


Heat the butter or lard in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until golden. Sprinkle paprika over the onion and stir to mix well. Add the green beans and stir until all the pieces are coated with paprika. Stir in water and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan tightly, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until beans are tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and flour until mixture is smooth. Stir the sour cream into beans and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.