Lately, I’ve been falling back in love with my crock pot. I tend to use it in cycles – I go for months without thinking about it and then all of the sudden it becomes a near-permanent fixture on my counter top. I decided to lug it out recently to get better at using the many pounds of dried beans I have, one of my New Year’s cooking goals. The wonderful thing I’ve discovered is that there’s no need to pre-soak the beans!
I’ve been cooking different kinds of beans overnight in the crock pot, then leaving them in the garage until I get home from work (it’s been cold enough for that lately!). When I get home, I use them in soups, salads, or to make veggie burgers. This recipe came about in a slightly different way…snow days!! Stuck inside for days, I was craving chips and dip. I wanted something hearty, warm, easy, healthy, and spicyish. Refried beans sounded perfect, and would make a dent in the 5 lb. bag of dried pinto beans I’ve got…bulk buying!
As with many crock pot recipes, you add everything to the pot, turn it on, then just walk away. Exactly what I wanted — I went outside to play in the snow with my son, did chores around the house, watched a few episodes of Tiny Houses (I’m obsessed!), then returned to a gorgeous pot of spiced, nutrition-packed, saucy cooked beans. Into the pot, you add a pound of beans, one chopped medium onion, tons of minced garlic (8 – 10 cloves), 1 tablespoon of course salt and then a teaspoon each of smoked paprika, cumin powder, chipotle powder and dried oregano. Pour in 5 cups of water, stir it, and turn it on high for 5 hours.
Stir the beans a few times during cooking, just to make sure they don’t stick on the bottom.
Then mash those babies up. You can use a potato masher, beaters from an hand held mixer, or a chopper like the one below – it’s a vintage chopper my grandma found at a flea market; it’s also perfect for making guacamole when the avocados are slightly under ripe.
You can mash the beans to whatever consistency you like. Top it off with chopped scallions or cilantro…it adds a nice pop of green and fresh flavor.
Serve the bean dip with tortilla chips or crackers – no need to dirty another bowl, just leave it in the crock pot; we’re not fancy, just hungry!
Crock Pot Refried Beans
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 – 10 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon course salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
chopped scallions or cilantro to serve, optional
Place all ingredients except the scallions or cilantro in a crock pot/slow cooker and add 5 cups of water, then stir to combine. Cook on High for 5 hours, until beans are very soft, stirring a few times throughout cooking.
Mash the beans to desired consistency with a chopper or potato masher. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro and serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!