When we lived in California, I missed queso. Really, really missed it. It was crazy to me that this delicious Tex-Mex dip (comprised of creamy melted cheese, tomatoes and peppers) pretty much did not exist there. I consoled myself with top-notch guacamole that was available pretty much everywhere, and the occasional trip to the On the Border (a Texas-based chain) 30 minutes away that offered queso. Every so often, we would throw a house party and I’d throw together some simple queso, made with a big old block of Velveeta and a can of Rotel, occasionally with a fresh jalapeño and some chopped cilantro thrown in for good measure. People would marvel at how good it was and ask for my recipe. *Snort*
Someone needs to bring real, good queso to the Golden State.
Moving on, though… we live in Texas now. One of our neighbors had an Easter get-together this weekend, complete with an egg hunt for the kids and a barbecue. Hubby volunteered me to bring queso. Of course, I could have just done the old Velveeta-and-Rotel routine, which is standard fare around here, and quite tasty to boot, but I was feeling up for a challenge. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of the ick that is processed cheese. So, I gave Homesick Texan’s recipe for a “more natural” queso a spin.
It was a hit! Although it is a lot more work than its processed cheese-based cousin (mostly because you have to keep the heat very low and stir the cheese in slowly so it doesn’t break), it was certainly worth it. It was creamy and just a little spicy, and it actually tasted like cheese — imagine that. This will be my go-to recipe for any future queso endeavors. There’s simply no going back to the processed stuff!
- 2 Tbsp butter
- ½ a medium onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 jalapeños, minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)*
- 1 small can green chiles
- 3 cups shredded Cheddar
- 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack
- ½ cup of cilantro, chopped (optional)
- ½ cup sour cream
- Salt to taste
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and jalapeños and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir briefly.
- Add the flour and stir until bubbly and beginning to color. Stir in the milk a little at a time, making sure to break up any lumps as you go. Simmer, stirring, until the mixture is slightly thickened.
- Add the tomatoes and green chiles and stir well. Lower the heat to very low.
- Add the cheese by the ¼- to ½-cup, stirring well to incorporate each addition and ensuring that the cheese is melted before you add more. Continue until all cheese has been added.
- Stir in the cilantro (if using) and the sour cream. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Keep warm in a crock pot, or serve immediately with tortilla chips and/or flour tortillas.