Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chorizo & Chipotle Refried Beans, With Queso Cotija

This recipe is perfect for tailgating, or to serve to the guys inhabiting the man cave during football season. Of course it's good any ol' time, too, and once you've made it you'll never buy that crappy canned bean dip again.

It's simple to make, everyone loves it, and it's very good as a dip or served as a side with carnitas or fajitas. To keep it simple, I just use canned pinto beans, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a package of cotija cheese that is already crumbled/shredded. Except for beer, that's nearly all you need.

It does take a couple of hours cooking and standing time, so plan ahead because it's best when served hot!

Chorizo & Chipotle Refried Beans, With Queso Cotija:

  • About 1 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from its casing and crumbled
  • 3 (20-oz) pinto beans
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsps minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
  • 1 pkg grated cojita cheese (queso fresco will do in a pinch)
  • 1 can beer- whatever brand you like

Over medium high heat in a heavy pot, crumble chorizo and saute, stirring frequently, until it completely breaks apart. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

In the same pot, saute onion and garlic until translucent. Drain most of the remaining fat from the pot, return chorizo to the pot and spoon in the beans (save the liquid from the beans for later). Heat until beans are hot, then slightly mash the beans until about half of them are mashed up. Add some of the reserved bean liquid to make this process easier, slowly adding more of the liquid until the consistency is creamy. If too thick, add just a bit of water.

Add the minced chipotle peppers, and for good measure add about a tablespoon of the adobo sauce, too, if you like things spicier. Simmer until mixture is very thick, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, for an hour or two.

At the end of this time the mixture should be like a thick paste, with bean chunks in it. Return to medium heat, pour in enough beer to make it just a bit soupier than you want the finished product to be. (A whole can of beer usually does it for me.) Simmer until mixture is hot and creamy, but don't let it get too thick; you don't want it to turn back into paste!

Top with crumbled cojita cheese (lots of it!) and serve immediately, either as a side dish or as a dip with tortilla chips.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)