OK, if this big delicious mess of gooey cheese, spicy chorizo and roasted poblano chiles doesn’t get you cooking for Taco Tuesday, I don’t know what will.
I’m talking about queso fundido here, and I’m going to show you how to make what I think is the perfect version.
Before we bring on the cheese, we’ll start with roasting the poblano chile and then cooking up a chorizo-poblano mixture. Quick note: a good-quality store-bought Mexican chorizo is totally fine here; but when you have time, try making the homemade variety. (Here’s my recipe video for that)
Now to what we’ve all been waiting for, the queso. Some recipes call for the cheese to melt in the oven, but I find that the cheese melts more quickly and evenly when you sprinkle it into the hot pan.
What cheese to use? In Mexico, I use a melting cheese like Chihuahua or what’s called quesadilla or asadero. Here, I use what’s labeled Chihuahua (though none of the US-made ones taste much like the real Chihuahua in Mexico) or Monterey Jack or to mild cheddar. To tell the truth, you can make a great queso fundido with pretty much any cheese that will melt ooey-gooey.
Queso fundido is typically eaten with flour tortillas in Mexico, but corn tortillas are delicious too. (No tortillas? Consider tortilla chips. No chips? No judgment from me if you use your bare hands.)
1. Roasting the poblano chiles. Roast the poblanos on an open flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly until the skin is evenly blistered and blackened, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes for the broiler. Be careful not to char the flesh—only the skin. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull or cut out the stems and the seed pods. Tear the chiles open and quickly rinse to remove stray seeds and most bits of skin. Cut into ¼-inch-wide strips about 2 inches long.
2. The chorizo-poblano mixture. In a medium-size skillet (preferably non-stick), cook the chorizo over medium heat, stirring to break up any clumps, until half-cooked, about 5 minutes. (As the chorizo heats, it should render enough fat to cook the meat; if the mixture seems dry, add a little oil.) Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is richly golden and the chorizo done, about 10 minutes. (If the mixture looks very oily, drain.) Stir in the poblano strips, taste and season with salt if you think the mixture needs some.
3. Finishing the queso fundido. Sprinkle in the cheese. Stir slowly and constantly until just melted—too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy. Immediately scoop into a warm serving dish (a small fondue dish with a tea light below is ideal). Sprinkle with the crumbled oregano and serve without a moment’s hesitation, accompanied by the warm tortillas.