We all scream for QUESO! (and a nachos bar)

We all scream for QUESO! (and a nachos bar)

Cast Iron Queso

I’m not joking when I say that everyone, I mean EVERYONE, I know loves Queso.

I started serving this liquid gold up to family and friends 20+ years ago...YIKES! What’s great about queso is that you can take it to any party, picnic, camping or football party and it’s a hit. You can eat it as a dip or use it on burgers, fries, hot dogs or nachos. Anything it tops becomes delicious!
Of course you can just buy a block of Velveeta and dump in salsa but that isn’t Queso at it’s best. The key players to my queso is a Cast Iron Skillet, a mix of peppers and the char...that’s right, the CHAR. The char on your peppers will give you that amazing SMOKEY flavor that makes this queso so delicious and the best way to achieve this char is with a cast iron skillet.
 If you do not use cast iron, you are missing out on an amazing cooking tool. I grew up using cast iron and my love of it means I’m not afraid to haul my cast iron on our camping trips. Cast iron can stand the heat of a wood burning fire pit and damn if it doesn’t make food taste delicious. If you decide to invest in cast iron be sure to invest in a great brand like Lodge and follow the care instructions. If you care for your pans properly they will love you back and for a lifetime. Now on to our Cast Iron Queso...

 

chilies

Chili!

It’s called Chili con Queso for a reason so lets talk peppers! Anaheim, Pasilla, and Jalapeño is where this starts but you can add any peppers to this recipe to make it your own. If you love heat then throw a Habanero, Serrano or Thai chili in the mix. Every pepper will change the flavor and put your own stamp on the recipe. Red Bell Pepper will give you a little sweetness which sounds weird but is really delicious. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Just always use the Anaheim Chilies as your base.

 

Con... 

 

cheese

Queso!

When I first started making Queso, I had to learn how to do a roux and melt cheese properly to get a silky smooth texture so you can imagine my excitement when Velveeta came into my world. Here is the issue with Velveeta, It has a distinct flavor that takes over so you need to balance it with another cheese. My favorite cheese is Oaxaca melting cheese but it isn’t always easy to find. If you can’t get Oaxaca cheese go for a Monterey or Whole Milk Mozzarella. Whole milk cheese will give you a creamy silky texture that makes your Queso AMAZING!Now that you have some basics and little background lets make QUESOOOO!

Ingredients 

2 Anaheim Chilies

2 Pasilla Chilies

1 Jalapeño or more depending on heat

1 Yellow Chili

2 Roma tomatoes

3 Green Onions

1/4 cup chopped Cilantro

1 small block Velveeta

1 cup shredded white melting cheese like Oaxaca, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella.

1 small can El Pato Sauce

Let's do this!

Lay your peppers in a hot cast iron skillet along with the tomatoes. Char peppers until they have a little black on each side but don’t let them get too soft. You want a little crunch to them. Do the same for your tomatoes. Once you have a little char on each side pull them from the pan and let cool on a cutting board. Once cool, cut open your peppers and take the seeds out except for the jalapeño. Do not remove the skins from your peppers, this is where the char is.

charred peppers

                                            

chopped vegis

Chop up your tomato, green onion and cilantro.

 

  

 

Throw a tablespoon of oil into the same pan you charred your peppers in and turn your heat to med-high. DO NOT clean out all the black bits left by your peppers and tomatoes. Those bits will help get that Smokey charred flavor into your queso. Throw your peppers back into your hot pan with the oil and get a little more char on them. Once you have that char, turn down your heat, add in your Velveeta, white cheese, tomatoes and can of El Pato Sauce. Melt the cheese by stirring constantly and getting all those charred bits up from the bottom of the pan, then add in the cilantro and green onion. If you find that your queso is to thick, you can add unsalted chicken stock a little at a time to get it smoother or add more tomatoes to the recipe. Turn off heat and serve.

 Serve it with tortilla chips or make a nacho bar!