A Salvadorian Refried Wedding of Beans and Rice

You are invited to attend an unusual but happy and tasty Salvadorian wedding, of Refried Beans and Rice. Come dressed casual and comfortable, but come hungry! An RSVP is not required because in our home our table is always Open Seating.

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Beans and rice has been a major staple in our humble Salvadorian homes, like, well, forever. But when you marry these two together, refried in sizzling rendered bacon grease, grease that has been infused with onions and garlic and bell pepper, what you have, then, is the promise of a happy future, of delicious belly-filled days.

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When my mother, a native Salvadoreña, would make her refried wedding of beans and rice, the aroma of sautéing onions and garlic would permeate the entire house and out the kitchen window and vents to arouse hunger and envy of every nearby neighbor and passing pedestrian. Rice and beans are not only delicious but are certainly packed with plenty of good protein and carbs. Just don’t count the calories coming from the lard/rendered bacon grease!

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Come; take a comfortable seat at our cozy table. Dinner is served!

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STEPS 1:

1/4 to 1/3 cup of lard or rendered bacon grease

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion (or 1/2 of large), peeled, sliced, and cut into half-moons

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and scored

1 small bell pepper, seeded, sliced

1-2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced

  • In a large sauté pan (preferably a cast iron), on the large burner and set on medium, heat the fats to sizzling; add the onion, garlic and peppers and sauté until veggies are a nice golden brown.
  • Remove sautéed veggies with a slotted spoon and set them aside for later use.

STEPS 2:

1 (1-pound 14-ounce) can refried beans (or about 6 generous cups cooked and mashed beans)

2 heaping cups cooked rice

1/4 cup cream sherry

  • Into the same fry pan with the heat still on, immediately but carefully (the hot grease will splatter) add the rice and beans and sherry. Mixing them well together and stirring occasionally, watch for big bursting bubbles to appear.
  • Once the bubbles begin to quickly appear, lower the heat to a medium-low and cook (stirring about every 10-15 minutes) until beans are thick enough to easily gather into the shape of a log. (This process can take about 1 to 1½ hours. So patience is required.)

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Enjoy this refried wedding of beans and rice with French bread or warm tortillas, or alongside scrambled or fried eggs (a Salvadorian custom). And don’t forget to add the sautéed veggies from steps 1.

Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!

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