NEW YORK - If you are having a Cinco de Mayo party, you may be planning to impress your guests with homemade fish tacos or tamales.
But there is one humble staple dish that you are probably not planning to make from scratch, even though the homemade version takes almost as little time to prepare as the canned version.
Making refried beans from scratch involves stirring and mashing - that's it. Simply cook chopped onion in a decent amount of oil, add some spices and mash in some beans. Or you can use an immersion blender to process the beans. (Figure that two 15-ounce cans will yield about 3 cups of drained beans.)
Yield: 3 to 4 servings. Time: 20 minutes.
1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups drained cooked pinto beans, cooking liquid reserved
Put the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it's soft and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the beans to the pot, along with a few tablespoons of their cooking liquid (or water) if they're very dry. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and mash with a potato masher or partially puree with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or warm. (Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.)