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Wild Mushroom Queso Fundido

By 7:59 AM , , , , , ,

If you love cheese, you will love this queso. It doesn't even matter if you typically aren't a big mushroom person. This Rick Bayless recipe is one of the best quesos I have ever had (and we've tasted more than a few in our lives!).

I made this thick queso to serve in the fresh tortillas I had made. The Husband was definitely skeptical about me serving this as an entree on New Year's Eve with it not containing any meat.  However, after tasting it - I can tell you he definitely forgot about the lack of meat.

This queso has depth and a real hardiness that I attribute to the mushrooms and beer. The pepper gives it just enough heat to keep things interesting without being really spicy. I loved the tomatoes which gave it some brightness and the onions added another textural element.

While we used this as a filling for tortillas, it definitely would be excellent as a dip. Just be sure to use sturdy tortilla chips as dippers.

A few notes:
- I did not have Mexican beer on hand, so I used a lager.
- At the Latin Market, none of the cheeses actually said "Chihuahua", "Quesadilla" or "Monterey Jack".  What I did find was one that actually said "melting cheese" on it, below the Mexican label. This worked perfectly.
- For the chiles, I used 2 small jalapenos. I did seed them, which I normally do not do, but I was concerned that the heat would overpower the sometimes delicate mushroom flavor.  Next time, I would keep a few of the seeds. If you like heat, I would recommend doing the same. If you don't prefer real spicy, keep the recipe as is.
- This also reheats very well. We had it a day later for lunch and it was still delicious.
- Rick Bayless suggests that you serve this topped with a little dollop of roasted tomatillo salsa. I kind of read that after the fact, but I can just imagine how amazing that would be and will definitely try that next time.

Wild Mushroom Queso Fundido

3/4  ounce (about 1/2 cup) dried porcini (or other wild) mushrooms
Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 1 large jalapeno or 2 serranos), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons beer, preferably a full-flavored beer like Mexico's Bohemia
8 ounces Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack
About a dozen warm corn or flour tortillas

Rehydrate the mushrooms.   Scoop the mushrooms into a small bowl, cover with boiling water, weight with a plate to keep the mushrooms submerged and let rehydrate for 20 minutes.  Drain off the liquid, pressing on the mushrooms to remove all the water.  Chop into 1/4-inch pieces.

Prepare the flavorings.  Finely chop the chiles (seed them first if you wish), then chop the onion and tomato into 1/4-inch pieces. 

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chiles, onion, tomato and mushrooms and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the onion begins to soften and brown, 7 or 8 minutes.

Add the beer and stir until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is once again dry looking.

Finish the queso fundido.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, sprinkle the cheese evenly over the vegetables and stir slowly and constantly until just melted - too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy.  Immediately scoop into a warm serving dish (a small fondue dish with a tea light below is ideal) and serve with warm tortillas for making soft tacos. 

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  1. Yum. This looks and sounds great. I can't wait to try it.