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Enchilada Sauce and the happy accident

By Josh Steiner

Enchilada Sauce and the happy accident

Welcome interested readers, to the food borne illness that is my blog; food porn in the People’s Press Project, today we’ll count beans and ring the bell in your kitchen. So join me, for a tale of desperation, a mission failed, yet redemption found in the form of a happy accident.
Counting beans…

Okay, I know a lot of people enjoy fast food, in fact with the economic shape our country is in fast food is the only foods some people can afford to go out to eat to. My wife and I can certainly think back to a time and place when Taco Bell drive thru and a rented DVD was considered a rare night “out”. Fortunately these days we can afford a date that doesn’t include food passed thru bullet proof glass.

But every once in awhile, we will still scamper into a Taco Bell and depart with 2 bean burritos add sour cream, a tribute, to a time that once was. If you’ve never had a Taco Bell bean burrito, you are not missing much, dry, nearly tasteless refried beans, diced onions, a stingy portion of shredded cheddar, and red sauce, all wrapped in a tortilla. So what’s the allure?
Hot sauce rings my bell…

The allure kind readers is, Taco Bell’s hot sauce, I love that stuff, tomatoey, slightly spicy with just a hint of vinegary acidity. After 3-5 packets of hot sauce that bean burrito is transformed into an entirely different entity. The formerly dry, flavorless, beans after a literal drowning, in 3-5 hot sauce packets are now also filled with moist, spicy flavor. Ashamedly I even grab extra to douse my homemade Mexi with Taco Bell hot sauce.

Hecho en su cocina…
Fortunately for me Todd Wilbur wrote a book; Top Secret Recipes and among others he includes a recipe for Taco Bell mild sauce. Close, but that won’t cut it we need the hot. So I compared Mr. Wilbur’s recipe with the ingredient list of a Taco Bell hot sauce and besides the various preservatives, etc. the only difference in ingredients is the addition of jalapenos and dried onions. Cool I always keep some jalapenos in the fridge but I forgot to pick up dried onions but that turned out to be okay.

Anyway, geek that I am I spent a Wednesday night trying to replicate Taco Bell hot sauce and with Todd Wilbur’s help I had a happy accident Taco Bell hot sauce I had not made, but a damn passable home made enchilada sauce I did and now you can too…

2.5 cups water,
2 tspns cornstarch,
one 6 oz. can tomato paste,
3 Tblspn white vinegar,
6 tspns chili powder,
1.5 tspns salt,
2.5tspns cayenne,
15-20 diced pickled jalapeno slices.

Step 1. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water in a medium sauce pan.

Step 2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the sauce until it has cooled. Cover and refrigerate. Put on everything…

So my theory was that if I cut back on the amount of water and added extra seasonings, and added the minced jalapenos I would have something that resembled Taco Bell hot sauce. Nothing could be further from the truth this new mixture didn’t resemble Taco Bell hot… More like an amped up… What does this taste like? Oh snap, this tastes like one of the best recipes for enchilada sauce I have ever made.

No wonder this seemed so familiar, I immediately threw out all my old recipes for enchilada sauce. So my miserable failure is also my happy accident, redemption is mine and an enchilada sauce recipe is yours.

Everybody wins; now go make enchiladas… Josh

Questions or comments contact Joshua Steiner @
*Joshua Steiner is a food obsessed individual who has worked in restaurants and kitchens for most of his life and held just about every conceivable job in the industry. Now he’s bringing his tips, tricks and travels to The High Plains Reader and for you to use in YOUR kitchen.


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