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Food & Entertaining

Beans Talk

Author: Kim Hill & Susan Regan
Issue: March, 2009, Page 90
Photo by David B. Moore
In a blind taste test, the Phoenix Home & Garden editorial
team tried six brands of refried beans. Here are the findings.

CASA FIESTA

Tasters decided that while this entry had a smooth and creamy texture, its flavor was too bland. The mild spice level was a turnoff for most.

ROSARITA
The whole beans incorporated into this mixture were appealing. One taster commented that this is how refried beans should taste.

SPROUTS’ INSTANT(no label)
Many on the panel gave this brand a thumbs-down for its aftertaste. A mild and smoky bacon undertone left others unimpressed.

WALNUT ACRES ORGANIC
Roasted garlic dominated the flavor of this selection, which offered a blend of whole and creamed beans.

AMY’S VEGETARIAN ORGANIC
With its hint of spice and thick, chunky texture, this brand edged out the com-
petition as the panelists’ favorite option.

OLD EL PASO
Its thick consistency makes this entry a good companion for tortilla chips, some noted. A couple of tasters picked up on a salty flavor.

Photo from iStockphoto.com

Food Styling by Executive Chef M. Allan Schanbacher
A WORD FROM CHEF ALLAN
   A staple of Mexican cuisine, refried beans are an excellent and inexpensive source of protein. They are made by placing cooked pinto beans in a frying pan to heat. “In Mexico, refried beans are served with grated Cotija, a strongly flavored cheese,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Executive Chef M. Allan Schanbacher.
   To boost the flavor of store-bought refried beans, add onion, a bit of garlic, or roasted green chiles or jalapeños to the pan before heating. “Refried beans are the neutral,” explains Chef Allan. “Top with salsa, cheese, sour cream—whatever you like—to create flavor and texture.”
   Buy the vegetarian variety if you want to stay away from refried beans made with lard, he adds.
   Detailed instructions for making refried beans from scratch, including a method for cooking dried pinto beans, can be found at phgmag.com/food/recipe. Or, log on to this link for Chef Allan’s easy tips for refrying beans yourself using canned pinto beans.



 



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