Saturday, May 17, 2008

Recipe Swap

It's not exactly a secret that Texans love Tex-Mex food. But recreating that at home is a challenge. That's why I was thrilled when my mom-in-law gave me a cookbook by Matt Martinez. His family runs one of the best Mexican food places in Austin, Matt's El Rancho. In fact his family began the first Mexican food restaurant in Austin in 1925. And they cater the press box during the Longhorn's home games. So, they know what they're doing.

Or so I thought when I frantically flipped through the cookbook to see how they make their Queso. Surely not. Cornstarch? Kraft American cheese? Are you kidding me?? But I jumped in and got it together...called my husband in and asked him to give it a taste. We loved it and so does everyone else we serve it to. We do it over tacos, chicken enchiladas, salads...whatever comes to mind. Provided, that is, that we can keep each other from eating it all before dinner.

Good news is that we always have the ingredients on hand. Bad news for my diet...we always have the ingredients on hand. By the way, this isn't even my favorite thing from the cookbook! Wait until you taste the guacamole! Enjoy!

Matt's Chile con Queso

1 Tbsp oil
1/2 c finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 c finely chopped bell pepper or jalepeno
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth or water
8 oz Kraft American cheese
1 c chopped tomatoes

Using a thick pot, heat the oil and saute the onion and peppers until onion is soft. Add the dry ingredients and saute for 1-2 minutes more. Mix the cornstarch in the broth and add to onions and peppers. Stir until really thick. Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in tomatoes. Adjust thickness to your liking by adding more broth to make it thinner or cheese to make it thicker.

Notes: We never make this little of a batch! I usually double it at least if we're making enchiladas...triple if we want it with chips, too. We also like it much spicier so I use 1 whole jalepeno with seeds and one more without seeds.

8oz is about 12 slices of cheese.

For those of you who don't know, use gloves when seeding a jalepeno. The chemicals can really make your fingers burn.

When I first made it and it began thickening up, I really thought I was ruining it. Just keep going!


eileen mom nana said...

Ohhhh... this made me hungry! We are going to check on Merle & will pick up all these ings.. can't wait! Taco salad with guacamole & Queso! YUMMMM!!

Kim said...

Let me know how she's doing. You're emails are too brief!

eileen mom nana said...

Just sent you the 'long' Merle email...