Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chili con Queso


New Year's Day.  New beginnings....of course.  But there's another focus for this first day of the new year and to some it is far more important than fresh starts and squeaky clean, soon-to-be-broken resolutions.  That's right.  FOOTBALL! And yes, my husband can be counted among that legion of fans camped on couches across the country with a beer in hand and a phalanx of snacks spread before him.  Football Nirvana.  Do you have one of those in your house?  Perhaps, it might just be YOU!

We have a few favorites around here...wings (we especially like jerk wings!), cheesy, garlicky artichoke dip, good luck black-eyed pea Cowboy Caviar and queso and chips.  I'm making queso today.  But, I'm not going with the add-salsa-to-Velveeta variety.  Nope.  This one starts with bacon (how can you go wrong?!), adds tomatoes, fresh green onions and garlic cloves, white wine (I've used beer, too...Corona is always nice) and freshly grated Pepper Jack cheese.  If you like it spicier than the original recipe, and I do, add fresh jalapeno with the onions and garlic.  Ole!

Come to think of it, this version of Queso just might tie into the New Year theme after all.  It isn't the same old, same old queso...its fresh and new like 2012.  Happy New Year, everyone!  Oh...and GO STEELERS!!!!!!

Chili Con Queso

  • 4 slices thick sliced bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 3/4 cup white wine, or beer
  • 1 pound Pepper Jack cheese, grated (the food processor makes quick work of this!)
  • 3 tablespoons constarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic

In a medium sized pot, fry bacon until crisp.  Saute onion in bacon fat (no need to remove the bacon...leave it right where it is) until soft and then add minced garlic.  Add tomatoes and chilies and stir well.  

Stir in wine and bring to a boil.  Toss cheese with cornstarch and garlic powder.  Gradually stir cheese into wine mixture and stir until smooth.  Transfer to a mini slow cooker or fondue pot to serve and surround with tortilla chips.

NOTE:  If you like more heat, feel free to add Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste!
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