It’s officially spring, but though the days are longer, winter in Southwestern Ontario doesn’t care what the calendar says and continues to rage on with bitter winds and snow and dark skies. I’d like to be writing about cleaning up the yard to get ready for gardening, or opening up the windows and experimenting with raw salads in my kitchen, or walking about enjoying the flowers, but instead I am going to offer up my favorite recipe for vegetarian refried beans as they are spicy and warming and winter doesn’t seem to be blowing away anytime soon. Nothing like Mexican flavors with Indian inspiration to comfort and get the blood moving.
Vegetarian Refried Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups dried pinto beans (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
- 4 to 5 sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon oil or butter
- 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced, or a heaping 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 2 to 3 jalapeños or fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn
Rinse the beans and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the beans for 1 hour or until very soft. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher and set aside.
Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and chop.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil or butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the ginger, jalapeños or chilies, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, spices and salt, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken.
Heat the remaining oil or butter in a cast-iron skillet or large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onions and fry for a 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Add the mashed beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
Now add the tomato mixture and corn. Cook, flipping portions of the bean mixture every few minutes, until the beans begin to dry out and brown a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve hot or warm over a bed of hot cooked brown rice or wrapped in warmed tortillas, with a little sour cream and a sprinkle of chili powder or a few dashes of hot sauce if desired.
Makes 6 servings
Consider including some [highlight]Homemade Skillet Cornbread[/highlight] as a side for an especially satisfying meal.