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Sara's Famous Chile con Queso

In Tex-Mex cooking this dish is often made with canned jalapeño chiles, and (unfortunately) Velveeta. In Mexico a white cheese is used, usually asadero, Oaxaca or Chihuahua. A company called Cacique, as well as others, make these cheeses and distribute them widely in this country.  If you cannot find these cheeses use mozzarella or Monterrey Jack, or mix them together. Adding a little smoked provolone adds a nice flavor dimension as well. For the chiles, use roasted and peeled poblano or Anaheim chiles. You can also use canned green chiles, but you will not escape the insipid "canned" taste. To spice up canned chiles add some minced jalapeño or serrano chile with the onions.

This dish is usually eaten by scooping the cheese onto either a hot corn tortilla, but also makes an excellent party dish with tortilla chips.

½ lb ground beef

½ cup chopped onion
½ cup roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped poblano or Anaheim chiles, or substitute canned green chiles
1 medium, peeled, seeded and chopped tomato,
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup half and half

½ pound or about 2 cups, grated Oaxaca, Chihuahua, mozzarella, or Monterrey Jack cheese
Salt to taste

To peel the chiles you must first "roast" them until the skins are blistered, then put them in a plastic bag and allow them to sweat for about twenty minutes. They should then be easy to peel. You can blister them over an open flame on the stove top or a wood cooking fire. You can also toast them in a toaster oven or under a broiler. In any case, make sure the skins are well blistered or they will be difficult to peel. The trick is to use enough heat so the chiles blister before them become overly soft and mushy.

To peel and seed the tomato, immerse it in boiling water for about 30 seconds, cool it under cold water, then peel, cut into sections and scoop out the seeds.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onions and cook them until they are soft but not browned. Add the chiles and tomato and cook until they are heated through, about 2 more minutes. Add the half and half, turn the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the cheese and immediately remove the pan from the heat to prevent the cheese from curdling. Continue stirring it until it is completely melted, then add salt to taste. Serve immediately with hot tortillas or tortilla chips.

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