TJ’s Refried Black Beans “With Jalapeños”


“High in Fiber and a Good Source of Iron”

Says so right on the front label and all true. This is a very healthy thing for you to eat. And since a can costs just 99 cents, it’s very economical too. Now if you are not familiar with “Refried Beans” there are a few things you should know. One is in Spanish “frijoles refritos” is slightly misleading in that while it literally can be interpreted as “re-fried beans” they are not “fried” twice, they are “cooked twice”, first the beans are boiled, then they are mashed/fried with some kind of fat. Authentic Mexican frijoes refritos are either pinto, black, or other beans, that have been cooked till very tender then cooked and mashed till they are a smooth paste. The mixture is cooked with onions and garlic and spices in some oil or fat (traditionally manteca (pork fat) is used but more ‘modern’ versions use olive oil).  Its generally eaten with corn tortillas in one form or another. Corn and beans together create a complex protein that is equal to any meat protein. In Mexico this is both a high quality protein and a relatively low cost, and is a staple eaten daily by MILLIONS of people.

However Trader Joe’s Refried Black Beans ingredients simply say: Prepared black beans, water, sea salt, spice, jalapeños. So actually since there is no fat of any kind listed, in truth these are not really “refritos” at all. You could eat them this way just out of the can, but I find them just so-so that way, I think of them as a time-saver over making my own beans (soaking overnight, etc) and mashing them. If you invest a mere 5 minutes to improve them, to make them tastier and more authentic, you will be rewarded with something twice as good as the way they taste right out of the can. And you will say as I did, where’s the jalapeño’s. They seem non-existant, so I assume the amount is miniscule.

Here’s what I suggest you do once you open the can:  Smash or chop a fat clove of garlic and toss it in a non-stick pan, over medium heat with a nice slug of Olive Oil (I used TJ’s Spanish EVOO). Add the bean paste from the can and perhaps some more diced fresh jalapeños ‘to taste’ (TJ’s label say “with jalapeños” but damn if I taste any!) Or add one small can of TJ’s Roasted Green Chiles, chopped up. A little diced onion to the oil for 5 minutes before the beans couldnt hurt too! Add some spices: oregano, a dash of red pepper flakes plus a good sprinkling of black pepper. Taste for salt. Cook the the beans, pushing down with a wooden spoon, mixing into the oil and every now and then stirring and making sure they don’t burn. Cook the mixture for about 5-10 minutes until the paste softens up, moves freely (If too thick, add pinch water) and the refritos look smooth and smell wonderful. If you like spicy, a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce and then Eat!

Are you Super Lazy and say that sounds like too much work? Wow you are a lazy bum! OK then if you do nothing else, when you heat these up just add some olive oil and lots of black pepper and some hot sauce.

Eat your Frijoles Refritos with tortillas, tostadas…. Use as fillings in burritos. Add salsa, cheese, tomato, greens. Refritos are also fine served as a side with a sprinkle of cheese, maybe some mexican style rice, and possibly some Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo.

When you open up up the can, be aware these refried beans don’t look too appetizing till cooked (frankly one could say it looks like dog food) but it will look fine after you heat them up and hopefully gussy them up as I suggest above .

If you’ve never had these before, try them, or their cousin Trader Joe’s Pinto Refried Beans with Salsa.  They are very tasty when jazzed up a little, so filling, healthy and economical it’s not even funny. Your heart and cholesterol will thank you, especially since you made them with olive oil and not lard (thought authentic manteca does taste best, sorry!)

RAVE.

VEGAN FRIENDLY


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RECIPE: Veg. Tacos, Roasted Corn & Soy Chorizo with homemade tortillas


Made this for dinner the other night. I had some very interesting looking corn I had gotten, check out the color: Purple! I’m not sure I ever saw this before (no, it wasnt from Trader Joe’s, I got it at uptown Fairway) This omnivore decided to go vegetarian that night and make dinner featuring the corn with Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. I even went whole hog and made fresh, homemade Tortillas de harina (flour), something I’ve been working on, trying to get better and better at. I watched a lot of videos on YouTube for tips.

To go with the tacos, I made a quick Salsa in five minutes, and let it blend for a 1/2 hour. When all was ready the Tacos got topped off with the salsa, some shredded cheese (Jalapeño Monterey Jack from Zabar’s) and some Arugula (TJ’s Wild Arugula).

How did it taste? Great. The roasted corn was excellent with the TJ Soy Chorizo, which really adds a lot of mexican flavors and spices, and the potato in the filling makes it taste hearty. Topped off with some salsa and jack cheese this was a damn tasty taco, vegetarian or otherwise.

Isn’t this pretty wild looking? No photoshopping here; this is the color!

I got my little assembly line to roll out the flour tortillas; Did about 6 for two people. Below, cooking on the griddle. If the griddle or pan is hot, they do not take long. About 1-2 mins on the first side and less than 1 min on the second side. Keep them warm in a cloth covered basket while you finish cooking all of them.

Dinner is served.

RECIPE: Vegatarian Tacos made with Roasted Corn, Soy Chorizo, and potato with Homemade Flour Tortillas

Taco Filling
2 ears, fresh corn, taken off the cob
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 “tube” of Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (ie, about 3 oz?)
1 med. potato, diced
1 med. onion, diced

Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Carefully take the corn off the cob using a sharp knife. Get it all and be sure to scrape the cob with back of your knife to get the good healthy germ. Heat a skillet with 1 tbs of olive or veg. oil. Toss in the corn, minced garlic, 1/2 the diced onion.
Cook on high heat till corn browns a little bit; five to ten mins. Remove from pan and set aside
Add diced potatoes, another tsp. oil, lower heat, cover the pan and cook 10 mins, turning occasionally; Cook, stirring occasionally another 5-8 mins till evenly golden brown; Add the Soy Chorizo. Add the roasted corn in and stir gently to combine all. Taste for seasonings,turn off heat, keep warm.

Quick Salsa
(Easy but you can also just buy your favorite TJ salsa)
1 ripe tomato, diced
clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
fresh or pickled green chili, or a can or TJ’ Roasted Hatch Chilis (
Mix all above, add little salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, pinch cayenne

Flour Tortillas

This would be a little complicated to document in full. The easiest way is to learn the way I did, via YouTube. Heres one video that should show you how to ‘roll your own’ . Personally I use oil not shortening and much less than the amount in the many recipes to cut down on the fat, and find it still works pretty well. I did as you see use TJ flour (and baking soda! and Olive Oil!) Not too mention the Soy Chorizo =Trader Joe recipe!

Now of course if you don’t feel like doing all the “work” you could accomplish something close by picking up at TJ’s, tortillas (flour or corn, the Chili Lime ones would be good!) and salsa, and use the soy chorizo on its own (or with thier frozen corn?) and whip a similar dinner together in no time.

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo


This is my very first post and review on this new site! Lets make it a:

RAVE

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo:

Great product! Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I tried this product as it looked interesting and sounded intriguing with these two words: Soy Chorizo? Whats that??

All I can say is I was really impressed by this vegetarian soy product. It tastes like, well, chorizo!  And by chorizo lets state for the record this is the “mexican style” chorizo (crumbly kind) and not the “spanish chorizo” kind that is firmer and more like a sausage which you can slice.

This stuff is really tasty and flavorful. Its is loaded with the correct spices, especially cumin and anatto plus its quite nicely spicy. All of which really makes it taste “real” to me. I’ve used it in so many ways, and you can come up with more easily…. Use it crumbled on top of eggs (delicious), used it as a taco filling mixed with potatoes, onions and other veggies; added it to pan fried hash browns; added to lentil stew or soup; even put it on top of pizza instead of sausage! Its good in many things, and a little bit goes a long way to flavor other ingredients. You can even make a un-vegetarian taco filling with half beef and half this stuff sauteed up together.

Its is so tasty I don’t even notice or care if its real or “fake meat”, so its a product that is good for both vegetarians and omnivores, and the occasional vegetarian like yours truly. Whats not to like? A 12 oz package is $1.99, and I find 12 oz of this really goes pretty far. Its a popular item. If you Google ‘Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo’, you will find tons of fans and recipes for it. If you haven’t tried it yet, this is highly recommended product to try.

One tip though. This stuff is VERY messy to work with once you open the package, so be sure to carefully cut open the plastic casing it comes in. When stored I’ve found the dark red anatto colored oil in it has a tendancy to “leak” so be sure to rewrap it carefully, as it stains! I always put another plastic bag around it, or spoon the leftovers into a glass jar. I find it can keep a fairly long time in the fridge, a week or two easily.

Here is a recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms that sounds good from the Cooking with Trader Joe’s blog. I have to try this, it sounds yummy and easy.

OK Readers: What do you think of TJ Soy Chorizo? What do you use it for? If you have any ways you like to use it or recipes, please leave them here in the Comments.

UPDATE: Price I saw recently was increased to $2.29 now (Spring 2018)

 

RECIPE – QUESADILLAS

Ingredients:

Soy Chorizo

Tortillas (Wheat/Corn or Corn)

Monterey Jack Cheese with Peppers

Baby Wild Arugula

Chopped tomatoes – or salsa

Put a little oil in a pan large enough to hold 2 tortillas; put down some Soy Chorizo on top of tortillas; top this with grated cheese; top this with some arugula and tomatoes or salsa. Cook until pliable and fold the tortillas over into half moons. Cook until bottom side is a little crispy and cheese is melted; press down gently. Top with a little salsa or hot sauce or Sriracha (optional) and more fresh arugula, or cilantro

Eat and enjoy!