Saturday, January 17, 2009

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves

This Christmas I added a few cookbooks to my large (but never too large) collection. Another "Best of the Best Cookbook" by the editors of Food and Wine magazine was one. This series is nice because in theory I would not have to buy all 25 books that they deem the best. But usually I end up owning four or five anyways.

Another was Alice Water's "Simple Food". It fits on the shelf with the two other books of hers that I have; "Vegetables" and "Fruit". Although "Simple Foods" is quite simple and I might not need all the recipes in it due to their repetition in other cookbooks, I feel I need to own it out of pride for a good cookbook collection.

The third cookbook I got was "The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper" by Lynn Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. I try to listen to the Splendid Table on NPR as often as possible. I really can't get enough of most any food related shows or books, with the exception of the Food Network, but that is a gripe for later... The first recipe I made from this book was the Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves. The book describes this recipe as "You'd never guess you can create such lushness from opening three cans" and they are right. With a little bit of prep work for the veggies these three cans turn into a meal in themselves. I was going to pair these beans with some leftover turkey mole I took out of the freezer but I ended up eating a bowl of them alone and being very happy. I was worried that the cinnamon and cloves might make the beans feel sweet but they match wonderfully with the spice of the jalapenos and the mashed up beans. Give it a try and as the book instructs don't skip the butter it is a necessary indulgence in this recipe.

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Cloves
The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper
Serves 4 to 6

extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, fine chopped

1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and fine chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
one 14-oz can whole tomatoes, drained
two 15-oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
2 tlbs butter

Generously film the bottom of a 10-inch skillet with olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the onions with salt and pepper to taste until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. You want to hear a sizzle as they cook.

Add Garlic, jalapeno, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook the mix until fragrant, about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the spices. Add tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pan. Saute for another minute.

Stir in the beans and water. Bring to a fast simmer, crushing the beans with a potato masher (or the back of a large spoon) as they cook, and scraping the bottom of the pan as the beans begin to thicken. Simmer until the beans are thick, about 10 minutes. Blend in the butter and taste for seasoning just before serving.

*The beans hold in the refrigerator for 5 days; add liquid as needed when reheating.


Anonymous said...

Just looking at those beans make me crave some grandma cooking for real. those spices are something I would have never thought of, and now that I'm thinking about it, I've got two cans in my pantry. sweeeet

Julie said...

You make me want to make these! They sound delicious.

Anonymous said...

Renee- these were awesome! I had no idea making refried beans was so easy! The spices are great.

Ilissa said...

We had these for dinner tonight, they were fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I heard the podcast and was dying to try it out. I loved it and had it with tortillas and tortilla chips. I don't have a potato smasher but will have to get one next time i make this recipe since using a big spoon was a little difficult. Thanks again!

lisa said...

Your photos are beautiful! I want to make this right this minute, but unfortunately (or fortunately) just made the Ancho Chile Baked Beans in Aliza Green's "Beans" book (which are also absolutely delish, with orange peel, molasses and smoked paprika)and have eaten at least three servings so will have to wait a day or so. I LOVE YOUR BLOG, and am about to read the whole history of it. Just discovered it by doing a search for this recipe, which I'd seen in Lynn's book at the library and couldn't check out 'cause I forgot my card!

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Delicious, thanks a lot for share, this will be great with some pasta or even just with rice will be great.


Wow this is just amazing. The best on the blog interesting. Go ahead guys.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that many are questioning the use of cinnamon. My Dad has perfected refried bean mixture and has always used cinnamon and cloves. It's just a matter of course now for me to add it in, along with cayenne and fresh lime juice. This mixture looks like a really good texture and as I currently have some dried kidney beans boiling on the stove it seemed like the perfect time to see what other people out there were doing with their beans.