Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cinco De Mayo -- Queso is the New Chowder

In New England, my family would use New England Clam Chowder as the deciding factor as to whether or not a restaurant was any good. Seafood restaurants especially, but anywhere that claimed to be able to make a decent chowder was subject to this test. In my experience, the top two winners were Union Oyster House in Boston, and The Newes in Martha's Vineyard. Figures, the closer to the coast, the better the chowdah. And their lobster bisque, which I may prefer to chowder but shhh, don't tell.

In Texas, we can't quite do that. The coast is far away and while I've found perfectly decent sushi (nothing amazing, not yet) seafood isn't very popular. Unless it's fried catfish or crawfish, which are good in their own right but are just not the same... Tex-Mex, however, is everywhere. Even at non-Mexican restaurants. And, it's delicious. Once I was introduced to queso I ended up looking for it on every menu I encountered. So, Queso is the new Clam Chowder for my little family and me in our new home city.

Obviously, for my Cinco De Mayo week of recipes, queso had to be on the list of recipes to attempt.

While it isn't quite on par with Chuy's or Maria's, I think I held my own pretty well here. It's delicious, full of veggies, and doesn't congeal as quickly as most. Pair with corn chips, a Mexican Martini, and have a blast gearing up for your Cinco De Mayo activities with this awesome app!

Queso Dip
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and sliced (wheels would have been better, but I diced mine)
  • 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs flour (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Cheddar Jack and Colby Jack)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

-In a deep skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add veggies, and cook until just soft.

-Sprinkle flour over veggies and mix until well combined. Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring vigorously. Let cook until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add a bit more flour if necessary.

-Add cheese in three batches, letting each batch melt into the mix completely before adding the next.

-Let bubble for 3 minutes or so, then fold in the sour cream. Serve with corn chips for dipping. Also makes a great sauce for... well, just about anything.


  1. Michigan doesn't really have anything they do exceptionally well (except beer... I have and do use craft beer selection as a determining factor in where to get dinner). but since it's mid-west-ish and we love our cheeses, I've always been able to find queso on like 90% of menus. This looks like a good one!

  2. All my life I live near the ocean (Japan and SF)... I don't know what to do if I can't find seafood. :D You're doing great job adjusting to the new environment and even making a new "chowder". ;) Queso looks delicious!!

  3. this sounds awesome! and i want chuy's now, haha.