Canned refried beans are an easy side dish, though it's often nothing to get excited about. This smooth, salty bean mixture is historically served alongside rice as a side for Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes such as enchiladas or tacos; canned versions are usually heated and served as-is, though if you're looking to punch up lackluster beans, there are various ways to do so.
Next time you're craving some refried beans, frying up a pan of bacon should be your first step. One fast way to add a ton of rich flavor to your beans is to stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of heated bacon fat. Refried beans are traditionally made by frying beans and aromatics in lard before mashing them down with various spices. Adding a bit of animal fat by way of bacon grease can ramp up the flavor and provide that rich, meaty depth that makes homemade refried beans so good without the hassle of preparing the beans from scratch.
Bacon Fat Packs In Smoky, Rich Flavor
Bacon fat is like the flavor equivalent of gold in the kitchen; cooking with it imparts a delectably smoky bacon flavor that makes everything it touches irresistible. It's an excellent pairing for beans, particularly pinto beans from which refried beans are often made; these beans are great at taking on the flavors of the ingredients they're cooked with. Just using a touch of bacon fat can provide a whole can of refried beans with immense salty, meaty, rich flavor.
You can either stir the warmed bacon fat directly into the canned beans or, if you want to add a few more ingredients and make your side dish semi-homemade, you can use the fat to fry up some diced onions and garlic before stirring the beans in. This adds a nice variation in mouthfeel to the creamy beans as well and provides even more flavor.
Storing And Using Bacon Fat For Refried Beans (And More)
Bacon grease is good to have on hand, and storing it helps prevent needing to fry up more bacon every time you want to use it in a recipe. Luckily, doing so is easy. After slowly rendering bacon fat in the pan, remove the fried bacon and pour the bacon grease into a glass or metal container to let it cool off. If desired, you can run that grease through a coffee filter first to ensure that the small bacon bits left in the pan are removed. This will keep your fat from going bad in storage. To store bacon grease, let it cool down completely before sealing the container and putting it into the fridge or freezer. The grease will last 3 months in the fridge if stored properly or as long as you need in the freezer.
With a little bacon grease at your disposal, your next plate of refried beans is sure to taste restaurant-quality, even if you're just heating those beans up from the can. Bacon grease can also be used in any other application; one might need a little cooking grease or want to impart some tasty bacon flavor. Try frying meats or vegetables in it, using it to spice up mashed potatoes or grits, or making a delicious gravy from it — the possibilities are endless.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.