Monday, January 27, 2014

Refried Beans

Meaty Refried beans 

Now what is Comfort food? Most of the time comfort food is associated with nostalgia and childhood. Sometimes we create our own nostalgia and then that simply becomes a comforting dish. I have always had this fascination for cuisines from all over the world and how one can find a thin thread holding all the cuisines which are a world apart from each other. The re-fried beans is one such dish which is what I call food that comforts me. While they can be made in different ways I like mine Beany and meaty . While I have never seen Pinto beans in my life after reading many a blogs of real people and their real-life stories I figured out in India I could use the "Chitra Rajma" to create my re-fried beans. With inspiration from a recipe which belonged to someone's great-grandmother I made my own re-fried beans and it has become a staple comfort food for me. I served it with hoemamde Salsa roja , cheese sauce and nachos and that was one of the best parties ever.

Now coming to my meaty beans, in a tropical country such as India eating too much of red meat is not one of the wisest decisions and due to many a dietary restrictions Pork meat is a meat which is not available easily and even if available it is not always hygienic. So one has to carefully choose one's shop. Thankfully in Calcutta we have a very hygienic cold storage started by a Hungarian gentleman some 60 to 70 years ago. Over the years his family dispersed and he ultimately left his right hand man as the owner of this wonderful cold storage. Till date they stuck to the Hungarian gentleman's recipes and produces delicious sausages, hams and other cold cuts along with some meat.

For this particular recipe I have used their bacon and what they call "Hungarian sausages" which is a dried garlicky sausage delicious to the very core.

So here comes the recipe

Serves 4 to 6 servings

1.5 cups chitra rajma
5 bacons  chopped in little bits
4 dried sausages chopped (It is better to use one with garlic flavour)
7 to 8 garlic cloves (Indian medium sized. These are about 1/4th the size of the usual large cloves available outside India)
2 medium sized red onions
Salt and pepper as per taste

Soak the beans overnight with 4 times the amount of water. Drain them and then cook them with triple the amount of water and salt the next day till its well cooked. You will be left with the boiled beans and water. reserve this water.

Grease your pan (just brush with a bit of oil) and fry your bacon (when frying bacon it anyways leaves behind a lot of fatty liquid) and sausage and keep aside along with some bacon grease and saute the minced garlic till the aroma of garlic fills your kitchen and then saute the onions to a translucent stage. Add the beans and the water bring to a roaring boil and then taste to check if more salt is required since some salt is added while boiling the beans and add salt as per taste and 1 heaped tsp freshly ground black pepper and simmer for  15 minutes or so. Cool this and blend it away using a bit of the water with which you have cooked the beans. I used more than 3/4th of the water to make a smooth blend. Now simply heat  the reserved bacon grease and add your blend beans along with the fried bacon bits and crumble 3/4th  the amount of sausage and mix well. After 2 minutes transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining sausage pieces. This is one fatty comfort that anyone who loves meat cannot resists. My friends couldn't resist helping themselves again and again to this mashed meaty delight. They scooped this with their nachos but this mashed delight served as a filling with some sauteed bell pepper and homemade cheesy sauce and  homemade flat-bread is a real treat as well.

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