One of my high-school friends has gone on to become a clasically-trained chef (he holds an associates’ degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute). Over the years, he has passed along a number of recipies, all of which are highly impressive. I recently had reason to prepare a chilies con queso recipe that he developed many years ago. It’s not health food — but if you’re gonna eat queso, it may as well be worth it. I’m passing it along as he gave it to me, with my own notes added in italics.
- Sweat one small diced onion and 1 to 3 minced jalapeños in bacon fat (I render about 4 strips, or use 2 – 4 Tbsp from the jar). In practice, I find 3 jalapeños to be the entry level for this dish; you can easily double the quantity.
- Add 1 large can (14 oz) evaporated milk.
- As this heats, add 16 oz of Kraft “Deli Cheddar”, a sharp process cheese food product which is much less sweet than American cheese but which still contains lots of emulsifiers. (Real cheddar will yield an oily, separated final product). I have had no luck finding Kraft Deli Cheddar in recent years; however, the Kraft Deli Deluxe American process cheese is also unsweetened, and produces an acceptable result.
- Adjust the bitterness and head of the queso with Tabasco and rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar). Generally, only a small amount is required. (The sourness of the vinegar decreases the apparent bitterness of the jalapeños. Individual tastes differ so an exact amount isn’t useful).
Allow to cool slightly after all the cheese has melted, and then serve.