Thursday, September 02, 2010

Appetite for Life: Chili Con Queso

Appetite for Life: Chili Con Queso

Ah, Chili Con Queso. Is there anything more Texan that this concoction of cheese, tomatoes, chiles, and onions? Every Tex-Mex restaurant from Amarillo to Houston has their own version of this dish. While they all vary slightly, they all share the common thread of warm, melted cheese that gently coats tortilla chips or anything else on your plate as you wish.

I've had many different versions of chili con queso in my 30-something years as a Texan, and I've yet to taste one that I didn't like. Granted, there are some I've enjoyed more than others, and of course, the one served at our favorite local Tex-Mex restaurant holds a special place in my heart. All of the troubles I had before walking in that door figuratively melt away as the cheese melts before me. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

I've been perfecting my own chili con queso recipe for several years now. I've tried many different variations, including one that includes cream cheese and cottage cheese! I've made it with bacon, ground beef, chicken, sausage, and chorizo. I've used Velveeta, queso blanco, and any other kind of cheese that melts well. I used different varieties of diced tomatoes, from the traditional combination of tomatoes and chiles, to chipotle-flavored tomatoes. Each attempt was tasty in its own right, but the recipe I'm going to share with you this week is the one that's become the gold standard in our house.

While it is easier to toss some Velveeta and a can of Rotel into a Crockpot, I find that spending just a little extra time can make a world of difference and a very special chili con queso. My recipe might not suit your family's taste, but I hope it will at least inspire you to try new and different things and branch out from the ordinary. If you do come up with a great new spin on this Tex-Mex classic, please stop by my recipe journal and share it with me. I'm always looking for the next great chili con queso recipe to share with my family and friends.

Chorizo Con Queso

1 lb Velveeta; cubed
1 can chipotle-flavored diced tomatoes
1 lb chorizo; cooked
1 medium sweet onion, diced
10-15 slices pickled jalapenos, diced
1/4-1/2 c Shiner Bock; as needed to thin out the queso


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