I’ve talked about making homemade refried beans from scratch, using dry pinto beans, and those are certainly amazing, if not like anything you ever get in a can. However, as a matter of convenience, it’s useful to keep on hand some canned refried beans.
We’ve tried different ones, but mainly buy Old El Paso. They’re the best overall, and if bought at Wal-Mart or by the 8-pack at BJ’s, cheap enough. They are mildly seasoned. Refried beans seem to range from essentially plain beans, cooked a lot, maybe with some lard, to something seasoned significantly with garlic, onion, maybe cumin or other seasonings. My homemade ones generally contain actual chopped pepper, onion and garlic, as well as oregano, cumin, red pepper, maybe this or that else, like celery flakes and cilantro. Even plain, though, the beans are tasty, and good with other, stronger stuff, say in a burrito.
The other brand we’ve eaten the most is Taco Bell. By contrast, they are plain or nearly plain beans. The texture is different; the canned brands all vary in thickness and degree to which you might want a bit of water in the bottom of the pan when heating them. At Hannafor
, they are 20Â¢ a can less than Old El Paso, which led to my buying them a couple times recently when even buying canned beans was a luxury. One thing I regret about the food blogging is that I tend to lack the money to experiment on anything that costs, well, an amount most people would consider no big deal, let alone truly expensive foods. Besides, the point is that I have needed to learn more, get creative, and be frugal as a “married guy cook,” so a lot of what you see here is my adventures, rather than being a true foodie. You certainly won’t find me getting on my private jet and flying to New York because that’s where my favorite steakhouse happens to be. Not sure I’d do that even if I had a private jet.
Last time I wanted to grab a can of beans while in Hannaford, they didn’t have the variety of Old El Paso I like to get, and I noticed Hannaford had a store brand. Either I’d never noticed, or that’s a new thing. Those were 10Â¢ below even the Taco Bell beans; almost as little as I’ve ever paid. Cool, I’m usually willing to try store brand whatever once. Our favorite frozen vegetables are Wal-Mart’s own brand, and there’s almost nothing Wal-Mart or Hannaford brand we’ve ever disliked. After trying BJ’s own grated parm cheese, we’ve never tried a store brand again, but that was exceptionally bad.
I made homemade tacos last night, which we then had for lunch today as well, before Deb took the kids to the pool and I fired up the AC in my office to work. What; this isn’t work? The tacos are a whole other post. I tried corn tortillas for the first time and they were astonishingly good. Sadie even corrected her mother last night, declaring them very good, as opposed to merely good.
That was where I used the Hannaford store brand refried beans. Not only are they cheap, and not only are they decent, but also they are the best we have tried. In the future, I’ll buy them preferentially. They aren’t plain, and in fact are fairly heavily seasoned, but it’s the tastiest. Your mileage may vary. Thus the whole rambling post reaching this point; they were good enough to want to crow about, and I’m not even getting paid for product review blogging.