I LOVE nacho cheese! And I love it when I can still dip in it after it’s refrigerated. Like a jar of Tostitos Queso – I can sneak into the fridge with one chip in hand, and satisfy that craving!
There are LOTS of recipes on the internet that start with a Bechamel type-base and add a variety of seasonings like chili powder and cumin… but none of them were quite what I was looking for. If I liked the flavor, it was usually just because it was made of a roux plus milk and cheese. But it missed the acid, and the texture was always off. If I tried to eat any of it while cold, my chips would break off… ugh.
Then one day while working, I actually ran out of Podcasts to listen to for the day. So I started to search for something new to listen to. I saw a Bon Appetit episode available on QUESO. I listened, and learned, and then my daughter and I went to the kitchen, inspired. We came up with this. It’s just a little different then the BA recipe, we adjusted for our tastes. But, I can’t say enough thanks to Bon Appetit for getting me this close!
As with all of my recipes here on my online journal… it’s a work in progress, and I will update it as we learn more tweaks that we like!
Chop 1/4 small onion.
Mince 1 clove garlic.
Mince 1/3 cup jarred Jalapenos, include that juice!
Chop 8 oz. American cheese (You NEED this for texture, trust me. Go with 8 – 1 oz. slices, or grab a block and cut 8 oz. into smaller cubes)
Grate 8oz. Cheddar Cheese (or other cheese of your choice, maybe Monterey Jack)
Melt 1 Tablespoon of Butter (I always have salted on hand) in sauce pan over medium heat until foamy
Cook the garlic and onion until translucent.
Add 1/2 tsp. Cumin and 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper, and cook until aromatic.
Get 1 cup milk. Pour 3/4 cups of that milk into the saucepan and simmer.
Use the remaining 1/4 cup of cold milk to make a thickener, by adding 1/2 Tablespoon of Cornstarch and stirring. Mixing the cornstarch into a small amount of cool liquid helps to prevent lumps.
Add cornstarch mixture to the pan and simmer over medium heat. Simmer for at least 1 full minute. BA says this is necessary to keep it from getting “grainy” in texture.
Reduce heat to medium low and begin to melt in your grated/cubed cheeses. Add small portions of cheese and stir it in to the pan to melt. Then, add more cheese. Do this until all the cheese is added and melted in.
Remember that 1/3 cup of jalapenos that you minced up? And kept some juices from that jar too? Add it into the cheese sauce now and stir. You are ready to go!
If you can’t eat it all, feel free to pop it in the fridge to snack on later! It’ll harden a little when it gets cold… but you can still easily get a nice thin tortilla chip in there and get a scoop! Yay!