Queso dip

The idea for this came from a little Tex-Mex trailer in Bristol called The Woolly Cactus. It serves lunch to office workers on Victoria Street, and claims to be the only place in the UK that does this delicious dip. I find that a little hard to believe – you can get something quite similar from Doritos, so it’s not exactly an alien concept here in Britain – but it’s very good, and here’s how you can whip up a reasonably close approximation at home.

Ingredients (a massive party-size bowl)

200g Monterey Jack cheese
200g processed cheese slices
150ml single cream
a handful of finely chopped coriander
a handful of pickled jalapeno slices, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil

Gently fry the onion in the oil until it’s soft and translucent. Break the cheese up, add to the pan, and heat until it melts. You really do need to use processed cheese for authenticity – ideally the kind of plasticky yellow stuff that’s labelled ‘cheese flavoured food product’ because it contains no actual cheese. This is probably the only time you will ever use it in cooking.

Add the tomatoes, jalepenos and cream. Stir it up and heat it through, but don’t let it boil. Serve warm with thick tortilla chips that have been gently warmed in the oven. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days – it will congeal but can be heated back to liquidity in the microwave.

2 thoughts on “Queso dip”

  1. AHA Martin!

    And so the queso wars begin… :)

    In Texas every Tex-Mex restaurant has its own take on this lovely dip. It took months and months for us to get our recipe to the point where we were happy with it. This was with 2 authentic Texans and me as an ex-Longhorn adding our thoughts.

    In all our research, in all the restaurants we ate in, there was nothing that resembled an authentic Tex-Mex Queso. Most times it was just heated up cheese with Jalapenos and the like which solidified or separated depending on how long you took to eat it. So you are right, the concept has travelled, but the delivery certainly hasn’t. ‘Similar from Doritos’ -PaH!

    The intracies of our recipe, are shared with a select few. Ask any of the guys in the van and they will tell you ‘it’s a secret’ and it certainly is. A pointer though, no plastic cheese in our mix.

    Above all, I am very glad that somebody has been inspired to make their own version in the same way that we were when we opened. It is a good thing and more people enjoying a good thing is… good.

    I feel a Queso contest a-comin’


  2. Back to the drawing board then…
    This one definitely doesn’t split when you leave it, but it does go completely solid in the fridge. It’s not as good as yours though (I need to go back and try it again). Monterey Jack, is it? Milk rather than cream? Any hints gratefully accepted!

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