Queso Fundido

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This quick dip of melted cheese flavored with tomatoes, chiles, onions, and a hint of tequila is just the thing to satisfy a craving for something warm and gooey.

Bayless's Queso Fundido al Tequila
Photo: © Frances Janisch
Total Time:
20 mins
Servings:
6

Chef Rick Bayless is renowned for his restaurants and his cookbooks featuring elaborate Mexican recipes, from big cooking projects to fast weeknight cooking. This recipe for queso fundido is definitely part of the latter, and perfect when you are hosting a last-minute party, need an appetizer for a barbecue or taco night, or simply have a craving for a snack that is full of flavor and pairs nicely with beer, margaritas, and tart, fruity sodas.

The Monterey Jack cheese used in this recipe melts to a perfectly gooey texture; be sure to add it slowly and stir it constantly so it melts smoothly and evenly. The chopped chiles, onion, and tomatoes give the dip texture and build on the flavor of the cheese — think of it as an amped up version of pepper Jack cheese. The splash of tequila Bayless adds to the vegetables while cooking them is optional, but worth it for the earthy notes it adds to the dish. This dip needs to be served immediately after cooking. You can sauté the vegetables in advance of serving this dish, then heat them up in the pan before adding the cheese and finishing the dish. Serve this queso with tortilla chips when making it for a crowd, or with corn or flour tortillas that have been heated on a grill or in a pan and held warm covered in a clean dish towel for a smaller group.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium tomatoes—cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced

  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons tequila

  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3 cups)

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

  • Warm corn tortillas or corn chips, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add diced tomatoes, minced jalapeños, diced onion and a large pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in tequila and cook, stirring frequently, until skillet looks nearly dry, about 2 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese slowly, a little at a time, and cook, stirring constantly, until fully melted, about 30 seconds. Quickly transfer queso fundido to a serving bowl. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve immediately, with tortillas or chips.

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