Melted Cheese with Roasted Chiles

Chile con Queso

serves 8 to 10 as a dip or 4 to 6 as a filling for tortillas

There are no specific foods or dishes associated with Cinco de Mayo, but a variety of botanas can be served along with the traditional Mexican beer, margaritas or a good 100% blue agave tequila. This tangy chile con queso from Chihuahua, Mexico by way of el Paso, Texas, thick with roasted chiles and onions, is a far cry from those gooey melted processed cheese versions sold in cans in supermarkets or served with nachos in some local taverns.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or safflower or canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 16 fresh Anaheim or poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 (5.33-ounce) can evaporated milk, or 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • sea salt
  • 11/2 pounds Monterey jack or other melting cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons chpped fresh oregano, preferably Mexican, or other fresh herb

Melt the butter or heat the oil over low heat in a medium-size casserole dish–earthenwware is ideal. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeños and saute for 10 minutes. Add the Anaheim chiles and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the milk, salt to taste, and simmer just until the mixture thickens slightly. The chiles can be prepared in advance to this point. Cool and refrigerate, covered, and reheat before continuing.

Mix in the cheese and oregano over low heat, stirring until the cheese melts and becomes soft and glossy. Serve immediately from the dish or pour into a smaller, heated bowl. The cheese must be kept warm. If it will sit out for a long time, transfer it to a chafing dish over low heat.

Reprinted from Cocina de la Familia by Marilyn Tausend.

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