Refried beans are delicious, plain and simple. Well, delicious when done right, that is. That crap in a can? Yeah, that’s not what we’re talking about here. I mean, those are fine, I guess, in the same way that eating straight from a garbage can is fine (I’m looking at you, Costanza). But there’s a better path, and we’re gonna take it right now.
To make refried beans, basically you cook the beans, and then you cook them again with the extra fat of your choice and some other goodies tossed in, hence: refried beans.
Traditional refried beans are made with lard (i.e., rendered pork fat), but sometimes they can be made with vegetable oil (which results in a more “beany”-tasting end product), and on rare occasion they can even be made with butter — though the dairy fat creates a totally different bean experience. If you’re cooking Tex-Mex, you might use bacon grease, but that tends to overpower the other flavors and dominate the dish.
Today we will be doing something a little different. We’re using duck fat for some highbrow beans that might well be the best thing you’ve tasted in a while. There are some aromatics and spices in there, but only really as a base to elevate the flavor of the beans and the fat. These have a super-luxurious mouthfeel and are bursting with fatty, beany goodness. If you can find the Mexican herb epazote, you can use that here (legend has it that it can reduce flatulence; just sayin’), but if not, oregano is pretty delicious in there as a substitute (though it lacks any sort of anti-flatulent properties, I can assure you).