Chili con Queso: Gourmet Version

Makes 4 cups
Serves 8 to 10


1 small onion, unpeeled, quartered
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 Anaheim chiles
3 jalapeño chiles
3 plum tomatoes
8 ounces Caciotta or Monterey jack, shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces Cheddar or Longhorn, shredded (2 cups)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pure ground chile powder
1 dried árbol chile, for garnish
Corn chips, tortilla chips, or
    cut-up vegetables, for serving


Preheat the broiler.

Place the onion, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Broil them 3 inches from the heat, turning with tongs as necessary until their skins are blackened on all sides. Remove from the broiler; place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to steam until cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the onion and garlic. Remove the blackened skins and seeds from the chiles and discard. Peel the tomatoes, cut in half squeeze out the seeds and juice and discard. Place the onions, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse to chop coarsely. (There will be about 1-1/2 cups of chopped vegetables.) Set aside.

Mix the shredded cheeses with the cornstarch and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Combine the cream, cumin, and chile powder in a 2-quart saucepan and heat over low heat. When the cream is warm, gradually stir in the shredded cheese, handful by handful; wait for each handful of cheese to melt before adding the next. When all of the cheese is melted, gradually stir in the chopped vegetables. Add salt, to taste.

Serve the queso in a chafing dish or fondue pot to keep it warm. Float the chile árbol on top as a garnish. Serve with corn chips, tortilla chips, or cut-up vegetables.

Buy the Book!


The Cheese Lover's Cookbook and Guide
By Paula Lambert
Simon & Schuster, November, 2000
Hardback, $35.00
384 pages, 16 full-color photo-illustrations
ISBN: 0-684-86318-9
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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