Refried Beans….12 Pounds!

August 17, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Posted in Community Kitchen, First United Methodist Church, Refried Beans, St. Lawrence Catholic Church | Leave a comment

This was my church’s Saturday to work at the Community Kitchen and I volunteered to make the refried beans.  How hard can it be to make refried beans for 100 people?  Well, let me tell you, it wasn’t hard but it was time-consuming!  But – it was worth it 🙂


12 pounds of pinto beans – I was able to get three bags of beans, four pounds each

water – lots and lots of water


huge stock pots

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first thing to do when you buy pintos by the pound is clean them.  You have to go through each bag, one small bit at a time and remove the ROCKS and the bad beans.  Bad, bad, beans!  There are some that are really dried out; they don’t belong!  So, I needed two bowls:  one for the naughty beans and one for the good guys.  As I filled the bowl of good guys, I dumped them into the first huge stock pot.The bad ones are on the left; the good ones are on the right.Can you see the bad ones in the left bowl?  It might be hard to tell until you start to clean them.  Me, I’ve been doing this my whole life for my mom and now for myself, so I can identify a bad bean a mile away.

Once you are finished with the first bag (four pounds), grab a HUGE colander.  Run cold water into the stock pot, then swish your hand around and around; drain the beans through the colander.  Do this at least SIX times OR until the water is clear.  Then, put the rinsed beans into another container and REPEAT with the other two bags of beans.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhoo!  It took me THREE hours to clean and rinse twelve pounds of beans.  Then, you need your biggest stock pot.  Place all the clean beans into the pot and fill the pot with water.  COLD water.  Let the beans soak overnight.  Cover the pot.  Say goodnight.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the morning, you’ll have a potful of soaked beans.  At this point, I needed to grab another stock pot to cook them – the original stockpot was ALMOST overflowing.  Next time, I’ll grab a bigger stock pot from church!  I already borrowed a roasting pan from church, knowing I’d need it.

Fill each cooking vessel with beans and water – the water needs to be at least THREE inches over the beans.  Now, here’s a hint from my mom:  as you cook them, you have to make sure they ALWAYS have that much water.  If not, you have to ADD more.  Mom says it has to be BOILING water, so as soon as you start cooking, grab another pot and fill it with water and set it on medium-high.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee the pot above?  Not enough water!  I needed to remove some beans and put them into the roaster.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis stock pot just needed more water.  Here’s the roasting pan I borrowed from church:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt typically takes two hours for beans to cook, but since there were so many, it took about three.  Set the pots on LOW and cover them.  The roasting pan, I set on 350 degrees F and covered it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYum!  See how they’re bubbling?  After two hours, take a spoon and pick a bean out to see if it’s soft and tender.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASteaming hot!  My house smelled like a Mexican restaurant.  Not that I’m complaining!

FINALLY, all of my cooking vessels were filled with soft and tender and edible beans and LOTS of bean liquid.  So, I drained some off.  Because I was going to FRY the beans, not all of the liquid was necessary, so I grabbed a slotted spoon and put the beans into the roasting pan and covered them with foil.  Then, I had to figure out where it would fit in my fridge.  Now that was funny – I had to shuffle things around but managed!  Now, say goodnight to the beans again 🙂

Good morning!  It’s time to go to the First United Methodist Church with the beans!  I carried out the bottom of the roasting pan and set it in the back seat and then very, very, very carefully carried out the beans.  Wow – they were heavy, but thank goodness we all made it to the church!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Time to grab some more items:

Canola oil


large frying pan

slotted spoon

potato masher

bowl to transfer beans back and forth – my teen helped out a LOT – thanks, Daniel!  He’d fill a bowl and bring it over to where I was at the stove.

I turned the stove on medium-high and poured in some canola oil, put the beans in and started smashing!  Add salt, a bit at a time, but not too much.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy friends all commented that I was getting quite a workout.  You’d think my arms would be very shapely after smashing all of these beans, but oh, well, you can’t have it all.

Now, here is the finished (and delicious) product:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had a really great lunch and actually ran out of food!  Mary made some incredible taco salad bowls – almost 100 of them; Mary (another Mary) and Judy made the taco meat; some other ladies brought lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream and salsa.  Dessert was homemade cookies and homemade cakes.  Our group from St. Lawrence loves to do “homemade” everything.  We had tons of helpers today, too.  It was fun 🙂

Sorry – I didn’t get a pic of the final product.  But I promise that they were delish!




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