It’s one of those things that you look forward to when eating at a steakhouse in Mexico. Your mouth waters just of the anticipation of the little side dishes like the guacamole, tortilla chips, warm flour tortillas, and roasted salsa served in the molcajete. And then it comes out in a little hot iron or clay container, bubbling, steaming, and sometimes flaming: the melted cheese. All that gooey, stringy cheese just waiting to be scooped up onto your tortilla!
But steakhouses aren’t the only place where people eat “Queso Fundido”, it’s also often an important dish in barbecue parties, where the cheese is placed in a small clay or metal skillet to be melted on top of the grill along with some tortillas. This is usually your appetizer while you finish grilling the meat.
Queso Fundido is usually made with Asadero, Menonite, Manchego or Chihuahua cheeses. These cheeses are hard to find outside of Mexico, and some good substitutes are Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Muenster or Oaxaca. This last one can be found now in Latin grocery stores.
The recipes aren’t that different from one region to another. The most common recipe is the one with fried chorizo, but you can also find ones with roasted poblano strips or sliced mushrooms. There is another version that has the chorizo with a mix of tomato, onion, and pepper.
The process to make it is another story. There is a recipe where the cheese is melted directly on a griddle and then scooped onto a plate, another where it’s baked in the oven or placed under the broiler. You can also make it in a small skillet right on top of the stove or on the grill where you make your steaks. The Flaming Cheese or “Queso Flameado” has warm brandy or rum poured on the cheese and lit on fire, and is served at your table while still flaming.
Makes about 6 servings as an appetizer.
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 ounces Mexican Chorizo, casings removed.
- 12 ounces Monterey or Oaxaca Cheese, grated (2 1/2 cups)
- 6 Flour tortillas, or
- 12 ounces tortilla chips, for serving
- 1 1/2 cup of Roasted Salsa
- You can use Spanish chorizo if Mexican Chorizo is not available.
- As mentioned above, you can make the Queso Fundido over the stove, grill or even using the microwave and stir frequently.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a skillet over medium heat, add the oil if using. Most Mexican chorizos have enough fat and won’t need the vegetable oil. Add the chorizo and cook, stir frequently to cook evenly and avoid it from sticking to the bottom. It’ll take about 6-7 minutes to cook.
2. Once cooked, remove the excess fat from the skillet or place the cooked chorizo over a paper towel to absorb the fat.
3. Place the chorizo in an oven proof dish, setting aside 2 tablespoons to garnish when ready to serve. I divided the chorizo and cheese into 2 small clay pots, but you can use a large oven proof dish.
4. Place the grated cheese over the chorizo and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Do not overcook or it will have a chewy texture.
5. Remove form oven and place over a heat proof surface. Serve warm with salsa and plenty of flour tortillas or tortilla chips.
Have you tried Queso Fundido at home or at a restaurant?