Traditional refried beans were leftover beans that were mashed and cooked again -- hence refried. Smoked ham hock is available at most grocery store meat counters and butcher shops. Once cooked, it can be used to add flavor to soups and stocks.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed, and drained
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 smoked ham hock (about 4 ounces)
- 2 jalapeno chiles, halved lengthwise (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine soaked beans, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, and ham hock, and jalapenos if desired, in a heavy 6-quart pot, and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until beans are tender, adding more water if needed to keep beans covered, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove onion, garlic, and jalapenos from pot; discard. Remove ham hock, and reserve for another use. Ladle out cooking liquid and reserve, until it covers beans by only 1/4 inch. Add salt, paprika, and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash beans into a coarse puree, adding reserved liquid if desired.