TEQUILA INFUSED QUESO (Adapted from Rick Bayless)

1 Tbs. olive or vegetable oil
1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded (if you wish) and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Hot green chile(s) to taste (roughly 1 large jalapeño or 2 large serranos), stemmed, seeded (if you wish) and finely chopped
3 Tbs. tequila, preferably a silver tequila
8 oz. Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, mild cheddar or brick, shredded (you’ll have about 2 cups).
1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the tomato, onion and chile(s), and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tequila and cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until reduced to a glaze. (If you tip the pan toward an open gas flame, the tequila will ignite. If you choose this route, simply shake the pan back and forth until the flames subside and the tequila has reduced to a glaze.)

With the skillet of tequila-infused vegetables over medium-low, sprinkle in the cheese.

Stir slowly and constantly until just melted-too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy. Scoop into a warm dish, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve right away with tortillas for making soft tacos or chips to dip.

***Note – this queso wasn’t my favorite. We were split down the middle – half of our group loved it and the other half really didn’t like it. There was an overwhelming veggie flavor, and the Mexican cheese was clumpy, so I ended up adding 2 cups additionally of Monterey Jack.


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