Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Restaurant Style Queso Blanco

I've pretty much been a giant goody-goody my entire life, though I did have one "rebellious" streak in high school.  Our dress code dictated that all shoes must have a strap across the back - so no flip flops, mules, etc.  Well all my cute shoes were backless, so sometimes I'd wear them anyway.  Most of my teachers didn't really enforce the rule, especially because I was a good student and never caused problems anyway, but one particular history teacher was a stickler.  So one day when my best friend Emilie and I both dared to defy the system and wear backless sandals, we were sent home to change. 

Since it was during this history teacher's class and we were in no hurry to get back to school after changing shoes, so we decided to have an early lunch out.  We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and had chips, salsa, and queso.  Lunch of champions.  So that's pretty much the extent of my teenage rebellion.

Even now, anytime we go out for Mexican food, I like to order queso.  And I always wondered what exotic hard-to-find cheese they must use to achieve that perfect flavor and consistency.  It turns out that they use White American.  Incredibly exotic and hard to find, right?

One of the best things about queso is that you can change it up as much as you want according to your tastes and preferences.  And there are so many delicious uses for it (besides drinking it of course):  nachos, cheese fries, poured over tacos or burritos, served over a baked potato... the possibilities are endless.  And I have an especially delicious use for it to share in the next few days...

Make it as mild or as spicy as you'd like by adding extra jalapenos.  Or get really crazy and use a habanero instead.  Add extra cilantro and tomatoes if you want, make it more substantial with some crumbled chorizo... again, the possibilities are endless.

This makes a pretty good amount of dip, so you can either make less or save the extra for later snacking.  it reheats well in the microwave - I just add a little extra milk or water and stir it every 15 seconds or so until it's the right consistency and temperature. 

Just like it's restaurant counterpart, homemade queso dip is definitely worth skipping school for ;-)

Restaurant-Style Queso Dip
barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 1 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup minced white onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 12 oz white American cheese (I ask the deli to just give it to me in a big block vs slicing it), shredded
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack or Pepperjack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2-1 cup milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
  • 2-3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil to medium heat and saute the onion and jalapenos until softened, 3-5 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Adding a little cream and a handful of cheese or so at a time, stir constantly until the cheese is mostly melted.  Continue adding cheese and cream, stirring constantly, until all the cheese has melted.  Add extra milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency.  I actually add a little extra milk at this point to thin it out even more.  Since it thickens upon standing, I make it a little thinner than I'd like so that when it's time to eat, it is the perfect consistency.

Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro, and season with salt.  Serve immediately.


Karly said...

I've been contemplating making queso with regular White American! I'll definitely give it a shot.

I asked our local Mexican restaurant and they said they use the Land O' Lakes extra melt white American. I tried to find some online, but you can only get it in 30 pound cases. I like cheese, but I'm not sure I need 30 pounds of queso dip sitting around my house. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've wanted to know how to make this for a while! Thanks!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

Wonderful recipe, Josie! This queso looks mouthwatering, and it's something I've definitely become more familiar with since moving to Texas! Thanks for sharing your recipe and beautiful photo.

Kelsey said...

Love the story! My rebellion consists of ditching ONE class the final week of my senior year. I went to an all-girls school, but there were a few coed elective at our brother school. One day, which was planned weeks in advance, we just never showed up at the brother school. Here's the awesomeness in my rebellion--I told my mom about it the night before so she wouldn't worry if she got a call that I wasn;t at school. Yep. I'm a rebel.

Love the recipe. Looks so delicious!

Laura said...

I remember being shocked when I learned the secret to a good queso is white american. But, it works so well! Perfect slathered on just about anything.

Brianna said...

This looks delicious. It must be a regional thing (and one I'm jealous of) because none of the Mexican restaurants around here have queso on the menu! I can't wait to try this recipe!

Unknown said...

Oh my that looks delicious! I could eat a whole bowl of that to myself!

Pam said...

Congratulations! He looks adorable. And this queso dip looks like something I could eat waaaaaaaaay too much of. Great for football season. Thanks.

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Nora @ said...

OMG! I found your recipe a couple of weeks ago and contemplated making it, but kept putting it off. We had a pot luck on Saturday so I made it - everyone LOVED it! I loved it - I can't tell you how many people asked me to email them the recipe!

Daniella said...

This looks super good. It looks easy enough to make (that's important for me!). I'm going to give it a whirl and hope it comes out good! Wish me luck! lol

Anonymous said...

:) I'm going to make this over the weekend!

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