When your college football team wears orange and blue and has Illinois on the side of its helmets, there is not much joy to be found on Saturday afternoons this fall. Much of that lack of enjoyment (or outright discomfort-- wow they are bad!) can be made up with a bowl of this chile con queso. One chip turns into twenty and pretty soon the sting of football agony is coated with a soothing layer of deeply delicious cheesy happiness. And if your team is good, the dip adds to the good times. It's kind of like beer in that way. Moving on....
The original recipe called for Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses, but I prefer the taste and melting properties of Chihuahua and American. You could use one can of Ro-Tel, but I like my queso chunky with lots of veggies, so I use a whole can of tomatoes, a whole can of green chiles, and fresh jalapenos for more kick. The addition of the smoky chipotle chiles makes for a trifecta of chile goodness that will have you going back for more.
Chile con Queso
makes about 4 cups
8 ounces Chihuahua cheese, grated
4 ounces white American cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1-2 jalapenos, seeded, ribs removed, and finely diced
1 Tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated 2 % milk
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional, I like it)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the cheese and 1 tablespoon of oil in a blender, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chipotle and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin, chiles, and tomatoes and cook until hot, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Add the evaporated milk and water to now-empty pot and bring to a boil. Pour hot milk over cheese in blender. Partially cover blender, place a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splattering of hot mixture, and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour cheese into serving bowl with tomato mixture and stir. Stir in the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken slightly. (To rewarm cooled queso, microwave in 20-second bursts, stirring at each interval, until melted.) Serve with corn tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, June/July 2012