Rio Grande Vegetables

ENTRY #19
1204.01

A couple of years ago, I picked up a few cans of “Rio Grande Vegetables.” This was part of a product line from Del Monte called “Savory Sides,” and this particular selection was pinto beans, tomatoes, corn, and green chiles in a spicy sauce.

I really liked them. Unfortunately for me, I think I discovered them right about the time that Del Monte was discontinuing that product line, because I haven’t seen them in stores since.

Needless to say, I was more than a little disappointed. I kept a label from one of the cans, so I know what was in this particular mix. What I didn’t know was how to combine everything correctly so that I could create my own version. Until recently, that is.

Not too long ago, I was looking through my pantry, and I happened to reach for a can of Ranch Style® brand beans. Lisa Fain (otherwise known as The Homesick Texan) has described them as pinto beans in a chili sauce. In fact, she was the one who piqued my curiosity into trying them when she posted a recipe for a clone version of these beans on her blog.

As I was looking at that can, everything started falling into place, like the tumblers of a combination lock lining up. Suddenly, I knew how to recreate Rio Grande Vegetables — and the best thing was, I had all of the ingredients on my shelves.

Now, if The Homesick Texan were recreating this, she would probably be doing everything from scratch. There is nothing wrong with that, but my primary interest was seeing if I could recreate the taste as accurately as I remembered it.

So without further ado, I present for your enjoyment:

RIO GRANDE VEGETABLES

Ingredients:

2 Cans (15 oz.) Ranch Style® brand beans
1 Can (16 oz.) Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 Can (10 oz.) Ro*Tel® Tomatoes And Green Chiles

Optional:
1 Can (4 oz.) Diced Green Chiles or Diced Jalapenos

Procedure:

1. In a 2-quart glass bowl, mix together the beans, corn, and tomatoes. If necessary, use some of the liquid from the corn to get all of the sauce out of the bean cans.

2. Once you have everything thoroughly blended, taste. If you think it needs a little more spice, add the can of diced green chiles. If you think it needs a lot more spice, add a similar size can of diced jalapenos. And if you consider yourself a chile head, add both.

3. Cook in the microwave for three to four minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Serve with your entree du jour.

Now, when I tasted everything after stirring everything together, I thought I hit the mark in matching the taste of Del Monte’s product. And I thought it was spicy enough as it was, so I didn’t add the green chiles.

Have you ever tried creating a clone recipe of your own?

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