Thursday, May 3, 2012

Churros and Beans...But Not Together

Hi all!  Today is part dos of my Cinco de Mayo fiesta!  For you non Espanol speakers….I said part “two”.  Did you take French or German in high school?  I took Spanish, and I’ve gotta admit….not a whole lot stuck with me.  I don’t have an “ear” for languages.  I do, however, have an ear for accents.  I feel like I can imitate any accent.  Perhaps I have crank called and you have heard.  Perhaps I will soon.  I’ll see how I feel.

Anyhow, today I will be showing you a great side to go with all those tacos I showed you on Tuesday.  I am going to show you how to make homemade refried beans.  I am obsessed with refried beans from Mexican restaurants.  Not so much canned beans, only the restaurant variety.  It is probably because they are cooked in lard…..but man, I sure love those beans.  I don’t cook mine in lard, in case you were getting nervous.  I cook mine in bacon fat, so actually…..that may not be much better.  But they are so crazy good, and since you won’t be eating them daily, I think you can overlook the bacon fat.

Again, fair warning….I am not claiming that any of these recipes are authentic.  FYI.

I use dried beans for this recipe.  I get a bag of beans, and I soak them overnight.  Before I soak them, I pick through them really quickly to make sure there is nothing weird in them….like rocks or something.  I covered the beans in water and let them soak overnight.  Easy peasy.

I know the picture above is hard to see, but that is a whole onion, diced, and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Then, I add the beans, which have been drained.  I cover the beans with new, fresh water and cook these bad boys on low for about 5 hours.

Oh yea, beans need a crap load of salt.  I salt them every step of the way….so throw in a teaspoon of garlic salt now.

Those are my beans….cooking.

Once the beans are cooked, I drain the water again.  Then, I slice up some bacon…remember, my beans are going to fry in bacon fat.  If you already have bacon fat….you can skip this step.  And know that I love you for having bacon fat on hand.

I fried up my bacon in a large skillet.  Once it was browned, I removed it with a slotted spoon so I could keep that yummy bacon fat in the pan.  You can either eat your bacon now, or stir it into your beans later.  My bacon rarely makes it to the beans.

One final step before I fry my beans.  I throw them in the food processor to puree them.  You can go as smooth or as chunky as you want.  I go somewhere in between.

I also add more garlic salt, some cumin and a smidge of chili powder.

Now comes the fryin’.  I added my beans to the bacon fat, and I sautéed it for a few minutes.  It won’t actually “fry” as in turn golden brown since it is a liquidish substance.  But it will soak up all the bacon fat, and it will get yummy.

Taste it at this point.  It still might need more salt.

Done.  And so much better than canned refried beans.  The bacon fat makes the beans smoky, salty and all together delicious.

I top my beans with queso fresco cheese.  Hot sauce is a good addition too.

Ok, on to the best part of this blog…..Churros.  Or rather, my shortcut churros.  Are you wondering what I use?  How do I make a short cut?  Ok, here you go.

I used canned breadsticks.  Yep, canned breadsticks.  They fry up golden, puffy and crispy….just like a churro.  These are so good….seriously, I could start a churro business with these.

I deep fry the churros in canola oil.  Peanut oil would be good too.  You need a tasteless oil with a high smoke point.  So no olive oil.

I fry these for about 5 minutes per side, over medium heat.  These take longer to cook then you would think.  You don’t want the oil too hot, so be patient.

Once the churros come out of the oil, I drain them on paper towels for a minute, and then I dredge them in cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar will stick to the hot churros wonderfully.

I serve my churros with a warm Mexican chocolate dip.  I make this with semi-sweet chocolate chips, heavy cream, cinnamon and almond extract.

This chocolate sauce is super easy to make.  I warm the cream in the microwave, then I whisk in the chocolate chips.  Once the chocolate is smooth, I stir in the cinnamon and extract.  Then, I drink it.  Ok, I don’t do that….but I easily could.  I love this stuff.

Yum.  I would celebrate Cinco de Mayo every day if it meant I could eat churros and Mexican chocolate daily.  And then I would weigh a million pounds….but I would be happy;)

I think you will be surprised how much these taste like real churros.  I honestly can’t taste a difference.  They are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and covered in cinnamon sugar.  This recipe is a must try.  Seriously, you have to make these.

Have a great weekend and if you are in the Reno area…come see us at Food Truck Fridays at 4th and Center.  If you are in the Clayton, CA area…go see Mama Rooster at the Clayton Art and Wine Festival.  She will be sampling inside The Royal Rooster.

Refried Beans

16 ounces dried pinto beans

1 White onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ teaspoons garlic salt, divided

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

4 slices bacon, cooked and drained with fat reserved

Soak beans in water overnight.  Drain and discard water.

Place chopped onion, minced garlic and 1 teaspoon garlic salt into slow cooker.  Add drained beans.  Cover with water.  Cook for 5 hours on low.

Place bean mixture in food processor.  Add remaining garlic salt, cumin and chili powder.  Blend until you reach desired consistency.

Heat bacon fat in large skillet. (Discard bacon or add to bean mixture) Add beans and “fry” for about 5 minutes over medium high heat.  Check for seasonings before serving.

Serves at least 10

Shortcut Churros with Mexican Chocolate

1 can refrigerated breadsticks

Oil to fill deep pot

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon Cinnamon, divided

4 ounces heavy cream

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon almond extract

Heat oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees over medium heat.  Deep fry separated breadsticks in hot oil, but do not crowd pot.  Fry in batches.  Fry breadsticks for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown on each side.  Drain on paper towels.

Stir together sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.  Dredge hot “churros” in cinnamon sugar.

For Mexican Chocolate:

Heat cream in a microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds.  Whisk in chocolate chips.  When chocolate is smooth, whisk in remaining cinnamon and almond extract.  Keep sauce warm and serve with churros.

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