1 can of kidney beans - rinsed
1 small onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
optional - chopped fresh chilis to taste
1 tablespoon of mild or hot chili powder
olive oil (or use another vegetable oil such as canola/rapeseed if you prefer)
Empty the drained and rinsed kidney beans into a bowl and mash them thoroughly with a fork, add some salt to taste.
In the meantime, add a little olive oil to a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onions on a medium heat. When the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, add the garlic (and chilis if using). Stir for a minute longer and add the tablespoon of chili powder. Stir for another minute then pour the contents of the pan onto the bowl of mashed kidney beans.
Ensure there is some oil left on the bottom of the pan (add a little more oil if necessary), mash the onion/chili powder mix into the beans and return to the pan (if you can, turn down the heat a notch to a low medium). Use a fork or other implement to squash down the bean mixture to form a thin 'cake'. Leave to cook for a few minutes.
Once the underside has begun to brown, flip over the bean 'cake'. Using a plate 'Spanish tortilla style' is second nature to me, but it's easily done with a spatula. It won't matter if the cake breaks as long as both sides get cooked. After a few more minutes, slide the cooked bean cake out onto a serving plate.
This bean mash is very versatile and can be added to a tomato sauce to bulk up a pasta or rice dish, but my favourite way to use it is as a South American style tortilla wrap filling.
Get some soft wheat flour or corn tortillas/flat breads (they're quite easy to make yourself, either with wheat flour or masa harina. Mix either flour with water and a touch of salt and press out into thin rounds. The masa harina tortillas will probably need some clingfilm/sarin wrap as they are rather sticky, the wheat flour rounds can be rolled out on a lightly floured surface. Then cook in a hot dry pan.) If using store bought tortillas, just warm them up first - I tend to clean out the pan I used for the bean mash and use that, just add the tortilla to a hot dry pan for a minute or so on each side.
Alternatively, use pitta bread pockets.
Prepare a selection of accompaniments to wrap up with the bean mash. These might include:
- Chopped fresh tomatoes
- Salad leaves or spinach
- Avocado slices
- Chopped cucumber
- Sliced raw onion or sliced chilis/jalapeños or both
- A South American style salsa of your choice
- *Grated cheese
- *Sour cream
Add the mash to a warmed tortilla, add the accompaniments of your choice, roll it all up 'burrito' style and eat.
If making this for several people, you can put the bowls of accompaniments out onto a table and let your companions make their own wraps. I really enjoy this as picnic food.
If you have little tolerance for spicy food, substituting the spoon of chili powder with paprika to the onions and beans will add flavour without the heat.
I'm not a big fan of kidney beans as I don't enjoy their texture. But I do like them mashed up like this, so this is the way I incorporate this bean into my diet. This recipe works with pinto beans also. Feel free to be generous with the olive oil if you want a softer consistency.
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