I’m no fan of the liquid in cans of beans – it’s just so… slimy – but this is a recipe where it really is useful. Take a deep breath, and dump it in.
As for butter, Katie doesn’t measure it, but she told me that she probably uses two tablespoons for four cans of beans. I prefer mine with more butter, ideally with a tablespoon per can. Brandon also suggests adding garlic, pressed or minced, and that’s very nice, too. It adds a faint depth of flavor. But I defer to you.
Also, note that this recipe can be scaled down as needed. When I made it with black beans last week, I only had one can in the house, and it worked just fine – and in less time.
Pour the beans and their liquid into a medium saucepan. Add the butter, maybe ten or fifteen shakes of hot sauce, and the garlic (if using; see above). Stir to mix. Place over medium-high heat, and bring just to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and looks creamy and the beans are very tender, maybe even falling apart. For pintos, I let mine go for about 1 hour, though Katie says hers only take about 30 minutes. You can cook it as long as you like, really. Cook it to your taste. (And keep in mind that the beans will thicken further, and get creamier, as they cool.)
Serve hot, with seven-minute eggs and any other toppings you like: hot sauce, avocado, cilantro, grated cheese, etc.
Yield: dinner for 2, plus 3 or 4 breakfasts, depending on how you serve it