Amazing Chili con Queso
The signature dish at Matt’s El Rancho in Austin, Texas, named after former Texas land commissioner Bob Armstrong, who one day asked them to make him “something different.” What resulted was a now-legendary layered dip of taco meat, queso, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Important: Don't used aged or extra-sharp cheddar, which is dryer and doesn't melt smoothly.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef chuck (20% fat)
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- QUESO AND ASSEMBLY:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large poblano chile, chopped
- 3 jalapeños, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (or more) milk
- 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 1/2 pound young medium or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, sour cream, chopped chives, chopped cilantro, and corn chips (for serving)
Preparation time 25mins
Cooking time 80mins
Adapted from bonappetit.com
Heat oil in a large skillet over high. Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon, until browned on all sides but not completely cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, leaving as much fat in pan as possible.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, 6–8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and reserved beef along with any accumulated juices to pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the skillet, until liquid is evaporated, 8–10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, let sit until ready to use.
Do Ahead: Picadillo can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat before assembling.
Queso and Assembly
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, chile, jalapeños, and garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, 8–10 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt, and continue to cook until juices have evaporated, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and continue to cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, gradually add both cheeses, and cook, stirring constantly, until cheese is completely melted and queso is smooth. If it seems too thick, stir in a little more milk.
Spread warm picadillo in a 2-qt. baking dish. Pour hot queso over meat. Top with a generous scoop each of pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. Sprinkle with chives and cilantro. Serve hot dip with chips.
Do Ahead: Queso can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat before assembling.
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