Black beans are most often associated with the cooking of southern Mexico and the Yucatán. The beans are usually cooked with a sprig of epazote, a wild herb; it has a mildly minty/herbal taste and is thought to aid the digestion.
Instead of serving the beans whole, mash them in the sauté pan, ladleful by ladleful. Add plenty of the cooking liquid as you mash the beans—if necessary, add extra water (or a little beer). You want them to be mostly smooth, but some texture is desirable. The ideal refritos are softer and creamier than mashed potatoes.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.