While planning a Cinco de Mayo menu, I received a request to recreate the red sauce Taco Bell serves in their bean burritos. The request for the sauce itself seemed fairly tame, and it gave me the perfect opportunity to try two new DIY recipes – homemade tortillas and homemade refried beans.
I first saw homemade tortillas posted at Fearless Homemaker. The tortillas pictured in my post may look slightly more brown than a traditional flour tortilla as I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 3 cups all-purpose flour in place of 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. When making tortillas at home, I can not stress enough the importance of rolling the tortillas very thin. I was hesitant to do so at first, and I ended up with tortillas much less pliable than desired (they were just plain hard). A good tip provided in the original post linked above was to use an 8-inch salad plate as a guide to trim the rolled-out circles.
I cobbled together the homemade refried beans via posts seen on How Sweet It Is and Money Saving Mom. I took a shortcut and used canned beans instead of dried beans, but please do as I say and not as I do and use dried beans. You will save money if you buy a bag of dried beans instead of canned beans. If you are uncertain about cooking with dried beans, Annie’s Eats has you covered.
A good tip from the former post was to reserve some of the water in which you cook your beans to use as broth later in the recipe. (The post also contains great step-by-step photos.) A good tip from the latter post was 1 cup of dry beans equals approximately 3 cups of cooked beans.
On to what started it all – the attempt to recreate Taco Bell’s red sauce. I found a recipe at CopyKat Recipes, and I’ve been told it did not disappoint. I have not eaten a Taco Bell bean burrito in years, and I did not do my due diligence and buy one of their bean burritos to taste test the red sauce compared to my homemade red sauce. All I can say with certainty is putting these three homemade dishes together made for a pretty good bean burrito.
The process of making tortillas and refried beans at home was fairly simple and well worth the gains in flavor. Though cooking from scratch is rarely the path of least resistance, I really like the sense of accomplishment I get when I serve a fully homemade meal. Preparing the three components of this meal do no take a lot of time. You can start the sauce simmering while you make and roll out the tortillas, then brown the tortillas while the beans simmer. Finish the beans, spread them on a fresh homemade tortilla, top with red sauce (and a little cheese if desired) and you have a nice little lunch on your hands. Enjoy!
- For the tortillas:
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup shortening
- For the refried beans:
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons broth, or more as needed
- For the red sauce:
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 tablespoons minced onions
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- To make the tortillas, pour the salt into the lukewarm water, stir to dissolve, and set aside.
- Blend the flour and the shortening in a food processor until the mixture resembles a fine meal. (If a food processor is not available, simply use a fork to cut the shortening into the flour.)
- Place both the flour and the water mixtures in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and mix until the liquid is incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. (If a stand mixer is not available, stir the liquid into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, then knead by hand.)
- Divide the dough into 12 equally-sized pieces (just slightly larger than a golf ball).
- Roll each ball of dough into a thin 8-inch round.
- Cook each round in a heavy pan over medium-high heat, flipping once, until each side is slightly puffed and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes per tortilla.
- To make the refried beans, sauté the beans and onion with the butter or olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, chili powder, and red pepper flakes for about 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender, regular blender, or fork to blend/mash the bean mixture to the desired consistency. Add broth to adjust the texture.
- To make the red sauce, place all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir well.
- Simmer over low heat for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.