tablespoon corn starch
cup evaporated milk
ounce cream cheese, cubed
cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
cup Monterey Jack, shredded
tablespoon hot sauce (to start, see below)
Shred the cheddar and Monterey Jack. I couldn’t find any Monterey Jack at my grocery store, so I ended up with Colby-Jack. Keep the cheeses in the fridge until you’re ready to shred them. In fact, 15 minutes in the freezer first wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom sauce pan. Thin pans get hot spots, and it’s too easy to burn cheese.Stir in the corn starch.Add the milk. Chop the cream cheese into small cubes so it will melt faster, and stir into the butter and milk until it’s melted and smooth.Add the cheddar and stir until it is well melted.Add the Jack and stir again.Add the paprika.The original recipe called for paprika and chili powder, but I had just used the last of my chili powder making the perfect chili. Considering how much the flavor of different chili powders and different kinds of paprika can vary, I don’t think this is an exact science anyway. Same goes for the hot sauce. You could use anything from a straight habanero or cayenne sauce — Red Devil or Tabasco — to a mild tomato-based sauce. Start with a half tablespoon and see if you can taste it. Keep adding until it’s as hot as you like.