Chile con Queso

The parade of Mexican-inspired food for Cinco de Mayo continues! I don’t know about you, but I find it nearly impossible to celebrate a holiday or throw a party without including at least one type of dip. Dip is where it’s at, right? There’s nothing better than plunging a chip into a creamy, cheesy bowl of deliciousness. The cheesier, the better, which is what makes queso so darn addicting. As you may have guessed from its name, it includes lots and lots of cheese. This is sometimes known simply as “queso” on some restaurant menus, but the concept is the same – a bowl of melted cheese along with chiles and tomatoes. While the shortcut method to chile con queso is usually a block of Velveeta and a can of Rotel, I’ve often times nuked cream cheese and salsa together. No doubt about it – this from-scratch chile con queso puts both of those to shame. It’s thick, creamy, smooth, and packed with flavor and a little a spice.

The dip starts with a quick saute of jalapeño and serrano peppers, onion, and garlic, and then moves on to a bechamel sauce base. The chile con queso gets finished off with milk, cilantro, tomatoes, and lots of cheese. I used a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack, but the recipe is very forgiving, and as long as it’s a good melting cheese, it will be awesome in this recipe.

We were able to polish this off in two or three sittings, and had we not eaten dinner, I’m sure we could have finished it off much faster! I love all the cheese, the little bit of a spicy kick, and the flavor from the tomatoes and cilantro. It’s perfect and should definitely be on your short list of dip recipes. It’s a Cinco de Mayo necessity, for sure!

Two years ago: Pecan Sandies

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Chile con Queso

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup chopped yellow onion

2 serrano chiles, seeds and stems removed, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and stems removed, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (about 1 cup)

12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)

12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 3 cups)

½ cup sour cream


Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, serrano chiles, and jalapeño, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.


2. Whisk the flour into the pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Slowly pour the milk into the pan while whisking, and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and tomatoes.


3. Reduce the heat to low, and add the grated cheeses a ¼ cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until it is completely melted. Repeat until all of the cheese has been added. Stir in the sour cream until completely combined. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. Leftovers (if you have any!) can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and then reheated when you're ready to serve.


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(Recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)


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