Cook the beans in water.
Pressure Cooker method: Put beans into a 4 quart pressure cooker with a 15 lb weight. Fill up the pressure cooker with water, up to the line that indicates the capacity for the pot. Cook for 30-35 minutes - until the beans are soft and the skins are barely breaking open.
Regular method: Put beans into a pot and cover beans with at least 3 inches of water - about 3 quarts for 2 1/2 cups of dry beans. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. The cooking time will vary depending on the batch of beans you have. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is just beginning to break open.
Strain the beans from the cooking water.
Add the onions and lard/fat/oil to a wide, sturdy (not with a flimsy stick-free lining) frying pan on medium high heat. Cook onions until translucent. (Note the onions are optional, you can skip them if you want.) Add the strained beans and about a 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan, while you are cooking them, until they are a rough purŽe. Add more water if necessary to keep the fried beans from getting too dried out. Add salt to taste. Add a few slices of cheddar cheese, or some (1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese if you want. When beans are heated through (and optional cheese melted) the beans are ready to serve.
Submitted By: Dellaina
Original Source: Simply Recipes
Their notes: "Refried" is actually a misnomer. In this instance, refritos means "well fried", not "refried", though you can certainly reheat the beans as you go through a batch. Note that many recipes call for soaking the beans overnight and discarding the soaking liquid. We don't. We discard the cooking liquid and just add some water back into the frying pan when we are frying the beans.
My notes: I had to keep adding water, 1/2 a cup at a time, during the pan-fry step. For spices, I used onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I used olive oil, which was wonderful, but I think bacon fat would have added more flavor... and fat. I love this recipe, I may never buy canned refried beans again.