Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recipes: Frijoles Refritos y Pan de Mais (Refried Beans and Cornbread)

Frijoles, habas, más come, más que pedo. Literal translation: Beans, beans, more eating, more than fart.

After all the hot air blowing out of the orifices of politicians over the last few months, these recipes will be a welcome change. They are particularly good on cold days and for those among us who are living on Social Security. You'll never buy another can of frijoles refritos again.


2 cups dried pinto beans
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz. bacon, diced

1 guajillo chili, toasted, stemmed and seeded (shiny, red chili. Grown in Mexico. The heat is somewhat sweet. Most often used in salsas, sauces and soups.)*
1 chili de arbol, toasted, stemmed and seeded (Small red chili about 2” long. Often used in powdered form, it adds a smoky taste.)*

Salt to taste (I use more than usual – otherwise bland. But don’t add until the end or beans will be tough.)Grated cotija, Cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, green onion for garnish (optional)

Pick over beans to remove any stones. Rinse and place in large pot, add water to cover by 2 in. Soak overnight. Longer helps.

Drain and rinse. Put back in pot with the onion, garlic, bacon and chilies. Add water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender and most of the liquid is evaporated. Add salt at the end of cooking. If using as a side dish, sprinkle each portion with grated cheese. Serve immediately.

They are even better after being frozen in whatever portions you want.


Higher in calories and cholesterol than most bean dishes but sinfully good, especially as an accompaniment to chili dishes and in layered dips or as a topping for tostados or Indian Fry Bread. Great with cornbread, sliced avocados and tomatoes – whatever.

2 Tbs bacon drippings or lard
4 cps Frijoles
2 cups grated ranchero, shredded longhorn or Monterey Jack (I use cheddar.)
½ cup finely chopped green onions

Melt bacon drippings or lard in large, heavy skillet. Add the beans, mashing them with a potato masher or a fork. Cook over low heat until they are thick – about one hour, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary. Top with onion and cheese.

(Southwest: the Beautiful Cookbook. Recipes by Barbara Pool Fenzl.)

Pan de Mais

Southern style, which means no sugar.

2 cups yellow self-rising cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. soda
4 Tbs. bacon drippings

Preheat oven at 450 degrees. Heat bacon grease in cast iron 10" skillet while mixing ingredients.

Combine meal, buttermilk, eggs and soda. Mix well. Pour half of hot drippings into meal and mix well. Pour into hot skillet. Should sizzle.

Bake for 30 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.


  1. Sound great, my mom always said the secret of frijoles refritos was the bacon drippings.

    Plus corn bread is good with anything. Bon appetit Leslie!

  2. looks fabulous! I grew up on beans and cornbread. Beans as in dried beans and ham, like a soup, poured over the cornbread. OMG, good, I just made some last week too!

  3. This cornbread recipe is the closest I've come to which is like my grandmother's. No sugar and no flour which makes it real cornbread and not that cake-like substance you people above the Mason-Dixon line make. ; )

    I don't cook bacon that much anymore but I still save it when I do. It can perk up the flavor in a lot of dishes - greens, porkchops and I even use it in my spaghetti sauce, aka "Southern Italian Spaghetti Sauce".

  4. For healthier eating, substitute vegetable oil for the bacon grease and make corn tortillas instead (which are 45 calories apiece and have 0 fat, other than whatever you greased the iron griddle with). Dirt-simple, just corn flour, water, and a press of some sort (a rolling pin will do in a pinch), and a hot iron griddle (see recipe on side of bag of corn flour, available anywhere that Mexican-Americans shop). Put the refried beans on the corn tortilla with cheese and onion and some salsa for spice, roll it up, and I dunno what the Mexican name is but it's tasty and healthy.

    Of course, I don't eat it that way -- the bacon grease and adding a dollop of sour cream to balance out the cheese and onion is just sooooooo good... but penguins aren't *that* worried about their pleasing rotundity ;).

    -- Badtux the Foodie Penguin

  5. Oh. Travesty. Veggie oil instead of bacon grease? Never. ; ) These recipes aren't meant to be healthy - just good. Not something for every day though. But thanks for the tip. I actually do try to eat healthy as a rule but sometimes you gotta go for the gold.

  6. Looks and sounds delicious. Being a yankee, I do like my cornbread a little sweet, but I've eaten and enjoyed it southern style many times as well.

    L.P., here's hoping you have a terrific Thanksgiving.

  7. I dont know what in Hell to think here Leslie, beside's all this stuff make's me hungry.

    BTW ... Sorry to hear about your dog(?) that was a Hell of a Thanksgiving post about it. I dont have any pet's, I can barely take care of myself, couldnt do them any good. It didnt have a comment click on thing, so I commented here instead.

    Hope Ya'll have a nice Thanksgiving anywayz ....

  8. BTW ... The video above about Halocaust survivor's ... that brought back some old memories seeing that tattoo on the inner arm ... I am very familiar with it let's say ... so you can bet that IS AUTHENTIC, believe me ... in case of those who think that some of this was inaccurately recorded in some cases. Which I've heard more than once.

  9. Want you to know that I can relate to your loss over the Thanksgiving holiday. There was no comment space available, so I hope you don't mind if I put this under your incredible recipe. Just wanted to pass along a heartfelt "sorry" for your loss.

  10. Thanks. I just posted a real tribute to the guy which you'll probably see before you read this!