Beefy Queso!


El Salto is one of my favorite places to eat.  I'm not Mexican, nor have I ever been over the border, so I can't tell you what "authentic" Mexican food tastes like.  But this place just does it for me every time.  I always get the Enchiladas Supremas and an order of Queso con Chorizo.  And there's just something about that queso that's better than any other queso I've had.  We always get one for the table and one for the house.  And then we fight over who ate more.

It seems as though there's nothing to it - white cheese, sauteed chorizo and - BAM! - party in your mouth!  I've been dying to make my own version, because I can't be running to El Salto every time I get a hankering for some Mexican food.  (Although... I still probably will.)  So I asked the deli-counter-slicer-guy if he could cut me a hunk of white American cheese.  He looked sort of confused, but I wasn't about to cut 50 slices of American cheese into small pieces.  Anyway, here's what I did:

What You'll Need:
3/4 lb. ground beef
2 tbsp. taco seasoning (want homemade? Alton Brown's recipe)
2 oz. diced jalapenos with juices
2 tbsp. butter
8 oz. room-temperature water
1 lb. white American cheese, cut into cubes

Pretty simple directions:

1.  Cook the ground beef and half the seasoning in a skillet until the meat has browned all the way through and the seasoning is incorporated.  Drop in the jalapenos and mix together, reserving the juice.  Set aside.

2.  In a saucepan, drop the butter and the rest of the seasoning until the butter has melted.  Next, add the water and incorporate.  Turn your burner to medium heat and, about 1/4-lb. at a time, stir in cheese cubes.  Each time you drop the cheese, you have to be continuously stirring.  (I stirred the whole time until all the cheese was melted.)  Stir in the jalapeno juice.

3.  When all the cheese has melted, toss in the beef and stir well.  My queso wasn't stark white, like some of the cheese sauces you may have seen -- it had more of an orange color, due to the seasoning and the oils from the cooked-off beef.  Have no fear, it tastes the same!  Enjoy!





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