~ Tex-Mex Soul-Consoling Food: Chile con Queso ~
Ever have a week you wish you could forget? Whether you're just over-the-top busy at work and dog tired, the guy in the grocery store packed your meat on top of your bread, or, your favorite football team lost last Saturday's home game because they couldn't play defense and missed a field goal, solace can always be found by dipping some freshly-fried, crispy tortilla chips in a vat of molten, velvety smooth chile con queso -- after two bites you'll feel like throwing a party!
Chile con queso (pronounced keh-so, not, kay-so) and often referred to simply as queso is found on the menus of Tex-Mex restaurants all across the United States. It is said to have originated in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua and variations of the dish quickly spread throughout Texas. The words chile con queso are Spanish for "chile with cheese", meaning chile peppers, not chili con carne. It is a smooth, creamy, cheesey, orange-colored fondue-type food (used for dipping) made from a blend of melted processed cheese (most commonly Velveeta or Cheez-Whiz), milk or cream, chile peppers, garlic, onion and seasonings. Canned tomatoes and canned green chiles (most commonly Ro-Tel) and sometimes seasoned and sauteed ground beef or pork are added to the mixture:
In our house, it is affectionately referred to as "Cheese Feed"!!!
Three days ago I posted ~ My Basic Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables ~. You can find the recipe in Categories 4, 14, 17, or by clicking on the Related Article link below. It takes less than 10 minutes to make and is so much better than those loaves of yellow processed cheese or jars of glop. My recipe yields 3 cups of creamy, cheddary cheesy goodness, and, if I do say so myself, it is the difference between ordinary chile con queso and extraordinary chile con queso. Once you have that prepared:
It's time to turn the Cheddar Cheese Sauce into Chile con Queso:
1/2 pound of the leanest ground beef you can find
1/2 pound sweet sausage
1 cup thinly-sliced green onion, white and light green part only
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chiles, well-drained
1 4 1/2-ounce can chopped green chiles, well-drained
1-2 chipotle chile peppers packed in adobo sauce, finely-diced, to taste (removed from a 7-ounce can of chipotle chile peppers packed in adobo sauce)
1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce, from above can, to taste
3 cups warm cheddar cheese sauce, prepared as directed above
~ Step 1. In a chef's pan, place the oil, ground beef, sausage, green onion, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Saute, over medium heat, until meats are cooked through and no liquid remains in pan, about 10 minutes. During this time, using a metal spatula, stir and break meat into small bits and pieces.
~ Step 4. Adjust the heat to low. Add the warm cheese sauce, stir to thoroughly combine and heat until steaming, stirring constantly. Do not allow mixture to simmer or boil. Serve warm with tortilla chips for dipping.
Note: Store leftovers in the refrigarator. Gently reheat in the microwave, stirring occasionally.
Texans say you can buy happiness: it's called chile con queso!
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight,deep sides; metal spatula; small colander
Cook's Note: You've just made the most amazing chile con queso you've ever tasted. Surely you're not planning on purchasing a bag of tortilla chips. You can find my recipe for ~ Deep-Fried Crunchy Corn Tortilla Chips (Totopos) ~ in Categories 2, 13 or 17!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 3013)