It’s a very simple idea, just melting cheese and chills and then mixing them together, but it has exploded with popularity and is now a staple in different types of dishes. It’s mostly made with processed cheeses, and can be used both in Mexican food and other types of cuisine. But what contributed to queso’s rise in the U.S?
Well, it was said to have been invented, in one of its many origin stories, at a Mexican restaurant in San Antonio. That 1900 restaurant was one of the first Tex-Mex restaurants, and the most popular menu item was chile con queso. While the original recipe has been lost to time, it has been made with countless improvements over the years.
While the processed cheese was and still is rather easy to come by, the jalapenos and green chills were not. However, most of the home cooks used spices to build up their heat, and soon a company began making tomato and chile mixes to make it easier. Now, people were, and still are, warming up processed cheese and chopped chiles to create an easy and fun party dish.
Restaurants and consumers aren’t willing to let the simple version stand however, and several new ingredients have been added. Everything from having three or four cheese mixes, to adding other spices, and even ingredients like chopped up meat. Some restaurants even add chutney or kimchi to provide a new kind of heat.
You can even use vegetables, crackers, bread, and other items with or in place of tortilla chips. Turn your queso oaxaca into a fun fondue! You might even try having a bowl of queso with a sandwich, and dip that into the bowl. The only real limit to making and enjoying queso is your own imagination after all!