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From the Northarvest Kitchen
March 30, 2009

This dish was served at the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conference in San Antonio, TX.  The recipe was part of the cookbook we received.  I made it for our New Years Eve guests.  We all thought it turned out to be quite good; definitely worth making again.    

Colorado chiles and Asadero cheese were used in the original recipe.  If they are available where you live, use them, but substitute oil for the lard.  Americans should use oil for their shortening as much as possible and it worked well in this recipe.  The Colorado chiles will need to be wiped clean, seeds and veins removed.  You could also substitute your favorite chile to flavor the beans.  I have never used milk in refried beans before.  I used whole milk on New Years Eve.  The second time I used skim.  Both worked well.

One of the first lessons that we were taught at that conference was that a CHILE is spelled C-H-I-L-E and it is not a chili pepper.  Peppers are green bell peppers, yellow, orange and red sweet peppers.  Each chile has a name, although that may vary from region to region.  There are many different kinds of chiles.  They vary widely in the amount of their heat.  Most grocery stores and the Internet will have a scale of heat that you can use.  The seeds and veins have the most heat so they are usually removed.  Use care, caution and rubber gloves when you handle a chile and dont touch your eyes or face!  The Colorado chile is similar to an American long green chile.  It becomes burgundy colored when dried and usually is about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide; the skin is smooth.  It is usually mild, slightly tart and has an uncomplicated flavor.  However, there is a Chimayo variety from New Mexico that is quite hot.

Asadero cheese is a soft textured, yellow melting cheese originally made in the northern state of Chihuahua with fresh soured milk.  It is sometimes called Chihuahua, menonita or asadero cheese and is a popular filling for the Latin foods most Americans call Mexicantacos, burritos, chiles rellenos and quesadillas.  Jack cheese is a good substitute. 

Refried beans are widely used in Mexican cuisine.  They are usually made from black or pinto beans.  The beans are cooked, then mashed.  The refried step fries the beans in lard seasoned with onion. 

This last step seems very similar to what was done when I was a child.  We had potatoes for one meal and then whatever was left over was fried for the next meal.  The same technique can be used with beans.  They are called re-fried even if it is the first time they have been fried.  Go figure!

I American-ized this authentic Latin recipe.  I substituted canola oil for lard, green Tabasco sauce for the 2 Colorado chiles and shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese for Asadero cheese.  I also cooked it in the crockpot while I made the rest of the meal.   

Try making Northern style refried beans with fresh cooked, leftover or canned pinto or black beans.  Eat them as a vegetable with a meal or spread the hot beans on a taco, burrito or quesadilla.
Mmmmmm, mmmm, good!


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