I’m was born in Texas, and once you are born in Texas you are always a Texan. No matter that I’ve lived in California for over 20 years, and am coming up on living here for as long as I lived in Texas. I will still always consider myself a Texan.
There are many things that I *do not* miss about Texas: the politics, the gun-lovers, the sometimes backwards attitude towards others. But there are also plenty of things I do miss about Texas: the Southern hospitality, swimming at Barton Springs or in the lake, big booming thunderstorms, and mostly, the food.
I love the food in Texas. I adore Tex-Mex. I crave Texas BBQ. And I wish more restaurants would serve queso and chips as a matter of course. In Texas, a bowl of chile con queso—most commonly known as just “queso”— with tortilla chips is as natural as putting bread and butter on the table. I miss that. So I’m forced to make my own (although Tacolicious does do an excellent version).
Traditionally, queso is stoner food. Made late into the night by melting a block of Velveeta cheese in the microwave and then stirring in a can of Rotel tomatoes with green chiles. I honestly do not have a problem with this (quite likely because I grew up with it). And, well, it’s good!
But I thought I’d take this decadent snack one step up the ladder, and make it with real cheese, plus some buttery sautéed onions and jalapenos. Serve this on game day, or anytime you are feeling nostalgic about Texas, and watch it disappear quickly.
Recipe: Chile con Queso
Makes enough for a party! (Or 10–20 friends)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1–2 small jalapeno(s), minced (seeds removed if you like it less spicy)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 cups of shredded mild orange cheddar cheese
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles, drained
- 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chips, for serving
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until the onions are browned and softened, about 10 minutes.
- Whisk the flour into the butter and let bubble for about 1 minute.
- Slowly add the milk to the pan, whisking constantly, and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, green chiles, and half the cilantro.
- Turn the heat down to low, and add the cheese slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring into the sauce until completely melted.
- When the sauce is smooth, stir in the sour cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away.
Note: If the sauce starts to firm up too much, put it back over low heat until melted and smooth.
Variation: If you want to get really crazy, stir some cooked, crumbled Mexican chorizo in at the end.