Queso Dip Recipe For Cinco De Mayo & The Other 364 Days - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Queso Dip Recipe For Cinco De Mayo & The Other 364 Days
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Queso Dip Recipe For Cinco De Mayo & The Other 364 Days

Queso is the Spanish word for cheese, but in Mexico, it also refers to a warm cheese dip, a truly great comfort food. We’ve got a queso fundido recipe below.

Queso fundido is a rich Mexican comfort food dish that’s typically served as an appetizer. It consists of pieces of chorizo, tomatoes, onions, poblano peppers, and gooey,

The standard queso dip found in the U.S. is a Tex-Mex variation of queso fundido (molten cheese), a thick sauce of melted cheese seasoned with chorizo and spices. The goal is a bubbling dish of gooey, stringy melted cheese (photo #7).

  • Some recipes fold in chorizo, chopped tomatoes or strips of roasted red peppers and/or green poblano or Hatch chiles, sautéed mushrooms, and/or onions.
  • Some are topped or blended with pico de gallo salsa (photo #1).
  • Some top the queso with dried beef, guacamole, refried beans, or a combination.
  • Some restaurants present the dish as queso flameado (flamed cheese—photo #6), bringing the hot cheese to the table to flambé with brandy, rum, or tequila.
  • Some serve the queso with a side of pickled vegetables—carrots, cauliflower, celery, and cauliflower, plus olives (photo #5).
    A variation, chile con queso (chile with cheese), sometimes simply called queso, adds chile peppers to the melted cheese.

    If you order simply “queso,” you may get a bowl of queso fresco, just plain melted cheese (photo #2). Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

    Whichever version of queso you choose, it’s typically served hot with tortilla chips or warm corn tortillas. You can also:

  • Serve it as part of a “tortilla chip buffet” with different salsas and guacamole (photo #4).
  • Pour it as a sauce—over burritos, on nachos and other Tex-Mex foods as well as on grilled poultry and other foods.
  • Use it as a sandwich dip.
  • Dip crudités, French fries, pretzel bites, etc.
    > Recipe: Short Rib Chilaquiles With Queso Fundido & Pickled Red Onion

    > Recipe: Green Chile Queso Fundido

    The dish is said to have originated sometime in the 19th century (if not before), around the borders of northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S., as a campfire dish [source]. The first known recipe dates to 1896 [source].

    The recipe was published in a California-based magazine, The Land of Sunshine. At the time, European-style fondue was rising in popularity in the U.S., which possibly could account for the idea behind the Mexican cheese dip.

    Menus from the decades that followed the publication show that chile con queso was served at restaurants in San Antonio, and then expanded beyond. Recipes for queso dips in cookbooks and community publications became more commonplace.

    Texas had been a part of Mexico from 1821 to 1836, and became America’s 28th state in 1845. Mexican heritage and cuisine were an important part of Texas culture.

    As a result, there is speculation that the queso we know today was developed to make Mexican food more Anglo-American dishes, and thus acceptable to consumers who didn’t want “foreign food” [source].

    In modern times, you can find queso dips ready-made in a jar for heating and dipping (or pouring). Cacique, Old El Paso, Pace, Tostitos, and Whole Foods 365 are some brands to look for (photo #8).

    Chef Alberto Gonzalez of Grizzelda’s in Austin, Texas, makes his queso fundido combines stretchy Oaxaca cheese, Manchego and Chihuahua cheeses. Melting the ingredients in a skillet on the stove, he adds grilled poblano and red bell peppers, combined with milk and heavy cream to achieve a melty cheesiness. Here’s his recipe.

    But as with cheese fondue, you can customize your recipe as you wish. Mexican Oaxaca cheese and Chihuahua cheese are popular.

    Check out these Hispanic melting cheeses, but melt your favorites. You can end up with a multinational combination:

  • Cheddar (English), Havarti (Dutch), Muenster (American), Pepperjack (American).
  • Other good melters: Colby (American), Edam (Dutch), Emmental (Swiss), Monterey Jack Cheese (American), Tilsit (Prussian/Germany), whole milk mozzarella (Italy).
  • As blending cheeses, you can add those that aren’t stringy/melty by nature, but add particular flavors you’d like, such as goat cheese and Parmesan (you can find hard goat cheese to grate, such as Garrotxa and Queso de Murcia al Vino from Spain, and aged goat Gouda from The Netherlands).
    Many queso recipes in the U.S. use American cheese (the Kraft type), even Velveeta. It’s edible, but not our kind of edible.

    Melt on the stovetop or in the oven. While melting cheese in the microwave may seem to be the easiest option, you won’t be happy with it. The cheese comes out of the microwave hot and melty, but in two minutes the texture becomes rubbery (not enjoyable!).

    Prep time is 20 minutes. Thanks to Roth Cheese for the recipe.
    Ingredients For 2-1/2 Cups

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and ground cumin
  • 10 ounces Roth Original Havarti cheese, shredded (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups pico de gallo, drained
  • Tortilla chips

    1. MELT the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until light brown. Gradually whisk in the milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin.

    2. BRING to a boil. Cook and whisk for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce the heat to low. Gradually whisk in havarti until melted.

    3. REMOVE from the heat. Stir in the pico de gallo. Serve with tortilla chips.


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    [1] Queso dip with salsa (photo © Wisconsin Cheese).

    Queso Dip With Tortilla Chips
    [2] A classic queso dip kept warm with a tea candle (photo © Valeria Boltneva | Pexels).

    Queso Fundido In A Skillet
    [3] Hatch chile queso fundido. Here’s the recipe (photo © Melissa’s Produce).

    Queso Dip, Salsas, and Guacamole With Tortilla Chips
    [4] Queso dip with red and green salsas, guacamole, and refried beans (photo © Frankie Lopez | Unsplash).

    Queso Dip With Salsa
    [5] Queso dip garnished with salsa, served with pickled carrots, cauliflower, and (photo © El Original | New York City [permanently closed]).

    Queso Flameado, flambeed queso dip, in a skillet
    [6] Queso flameado, flaming queso dip (photos #6 and #7 © Grizzelda’s | Austin).

    Queso Dip in a skillet with garnishes of jalapeno and cilantro.
    [7] A simple queso garnished with cilantro and jalapeño.

    Organic Whole Foods Queso Dip In A Jar
    [8] Whole Foods private label queso is organic (photo © Whole Foods Market).



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