A few Christmases (I just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to pluralize that word correctly…no idea if it’s right, it still looks weird to me but I’m moving on) ago, I got Ulysses a subscription to Men’s Health magazine. He liked it and read it but honestly, I was the one waiting for it in the mailbox every month.
From the ridiculous questions women would write in about their guy asking the dude that looked like a bartender in the beginning section (basically a men’s version of Dear Abbey) to the Eat This! Not That! meal of the month to the best part, which was the recipes with only 5 ingredients purely enforcing the stereotype of men not being able to cook.
I friggin’ LOVED those recipes. There were some amazingly delicious combinations in there that most would probably overlook because of their simplicity. My favorite was this smashed bean and rosemary combination which obviously had 3 other ingredients that I can’t remember but it was basically refried beans meets baked beans except without the nasty tomato-sauce baked bean flavor (sorry if that’s your thing, but I just can’t get behind the canned baked bean thing) and all sophisticated up with rosemary.
So simple, so quick, so good.
These beans were inspired by that recipe. I love refried beans in restaurants but I’ll be honest with you all, I’ve never once in my life bought dry beans. The whole soaking overnight and cooking for hours thing just doesn’t appeal. Yes, they may be like 20 cents cheaper per serving but no, I’m not that cheap to care. Canned beans are a convenience that is just always going to win that battle for me.
So that being said, these are a very loose translation of “refried beans”. A Men’s Health quickie version if you will. I used cannellini beans because I’m just partial to them. They’re soft and I love their flavor more than any other although, this really could be made with any bean.
No soaking, no long cook times and yet pretty much all the flavor of traditional refried beans.
I guess men do get some things right.
- 1 15oz. can of cannellini beans, drained with liquid reserved and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- pinch red pepper flakes
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Add drained & rinsed beans to a medium bowl.
- Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and saute oil and shallots together for 1-2 minutes.
- Add spices and salt and continue to saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add brown sugar and cook for another 30-45 seconds until sugar starts to melt and caramelize.
- Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the beans.
- Using a fork or a potato masher, mash beans and shallot mixture until coarsely combined.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid to help mash further and smooth out the beans (add more liquid if you want the beans creamier/smoother)
- Mix in the chopped cilantro last and finish by seasoning with salt & pepper to taste (it may not need any depending on your taste).