The Splendid Table's Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Clove
What can one really say about refried beans?
I admit, despite growing up with a Mexican grandfather, I was never a fan even though my sister and all my cousins LOVE my grandma's refried beans. It's actually been so long since I've had grandma's beans that I can't accurately tell you what they taste like, so I won't even try. What I can tell you is my perception of refried beans...bland, greasy, beany.
When I went to college, I discovered a new way to eat refried beans courtesy of Pepe's Mexican Grill - loaded with cheese and sour cream (and from a giant can, I assume). Cheese makes everything better, right? Right! Since I learned this little trick, canned beans have been actually making an appearance in our house - always cooked up with a load of salsa and topped with cheese & sour cream - not like every week, but we have them when I really feel like having Mexican (aka American Mexican).
Well, these mushed up kidney beans are a different story. They take effort to make (can you say mashing with a fork...ugh, I get so frustrated that I finally break out my meat cleaver to smoosh them). But then again anything other than opening up a can into a pot is effort. And besides actually taking some effort to make, these smell and taste wonderful! Full of cinnamon and cloves. Sounds weird, I know, but it's good and wasn't as strange with a side of Spanish rice as I initially thought it would be when I began smelling the wonderful cinnamon fill up my kitchen. Perhaps those people in Cincinnati really do know what they're doing with that crazy Cincinnati chili.
I think the next step with these beans will be finding a main dish to accompany them. I'm a bit stumped as of now, so if you have any ideas let me know. Perhaps I should track down the Rick Bayless cookbook that this recipe is based off of, I bet he'd have the answer.
And as you can see, I couldn't resist topping them with just a tad cheese & sour cream. ;)