When I was growing up, refried beans weren’t something I considered breakfast food. To me, breakfast foods were sweet and made of grain, like Honey Bunches of Oats, oatmeal with a scoop brown sugar or pancakes doused in maple syrup. On the off chance that breakfast foods were savory—like eggs—I thought they ought to be served with bacon or potatoes.
Now, however, I’ve weeded most of the sugar out of my breakfasts, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather eat with my eggs than refried black beans. The black beans and rice I ate in Costa Rica undoubtedly began my conversion to this less-than-American combination, but it was the refried black beans from Tacubaya Taqueria in Berkeley that sealed my love for this classic Mexican duo.
Tacubaya makes the best chile rellenos I’ve ever had (I’ll tell you about those in a future post), but if you go for breakfast or brunch try one of the eggs dishes. Refried black beans and warm, handmade corn tortillas accompany most of the egg dishes: Chorizo & Eggs; Huevos Divorciados (fried eggs with tomatillo salsa and salsa roja); Huevos Nortenos (scrambled eggs with nopales or prickly pear cactus). Breakfast doesn’t get much better than scooping up warm refried beans, scrambled eggs and salsa with a soft corn tortilla.
Imagine my excitement when Sam gave me the cookbook for Tacubaya’s sister restaurant, Dona Tomas, for Christmas. The Dona Tomas cookbook not only holds recipes for creative tamales and chile rellenos but the black bean puree I love so much. I was surprised to see how simple the black bean puree recipe was to make; just puree black beans and sauté with onions and canola oil. But aren’t the best homemade dishes usually characterized by simplicity and purity of ingredients? Try out these refried beans and let me know what you think.
Serve with scrambled eggs, fried eggs or as a side with your favorite Mexican dish. I used canned black beans in my version, but feel free to use cooked dried black beans if you prefer.
Recipe adapted from Dona Tomas: Discovering Authentic Mexican Cooking .
Makes 2 cups (4 servings)
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ medium onion
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup water
Make the Refried Black Beans
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about five minutes. Meanwhile, puree the beans with the water using either an immersion blender or a food processor. When the onions are translucent, add the pureed beans to the pan and stir to mix in the onions. Fry the beans until heated through, about five minutes. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt. Eat immediately or store in fridge for up to one week.