Make Ahead

Queso Fundido con Hongos

February 13, 2011
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

Typically when I enter a recipe for Food52, I make it, tweak it, and take it's picture before I post it. I have made this so often though that I can type it up without making it right now, though if time allows I will later in the week—after all, it's delicious!! Queso Fundido is often made with chorizo, but I find that to be a little greasy and heavy, so I make a vegetarian version with mushrooms and toasty nuts, and a hint of sweet from the currants. Also, if you can find huitlacoche (cuitlacoche) it is wonderful with this! It is available at Latin markets here in Texas but I am not sure of that is true elsewhere. —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Aargersi has four contest wins under her belt, proving everything's bigger (and better) in Texas.
WHAT: A very serious, very cheesy, very comforting comfort food.
HOW: Combine sautéed onions and peppers with cheese. Top with a mushroom mixture (including sherry-soaked chanterelles) and corn smut, then bake until the cheese is melty and bubbly.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Queso Fundido had us at "melted cheese," but once we tasted it, we discovered a depth of flavors—wine from the rehydrated chanterelles, rich earthiness from the corn smut, and a touch of sweetness from the currants. Even after all the tortillas were gone, we spooned this straight out of the pan. —The Editors

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 1/2 cup dried chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Oaxaca cheese (or other melting Mexican cheese)
  • 2 handfuls huitlacoche (corn smut); this stuff is NOT attractive when you open the can or jar, but it is seriously good!
  • 1 tablespoon crema Mexicana (or sour cream if you can't find crema)
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted in a dry skillet
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1 bunch warm tortillas (I like a combination of flour, spicy flour, and corn to suit all tastes)
In This Recipe
  1. In a small bowl, soak the dry chanterelles in the sherry until they have rehydrated. I sometimes place them in the microwave them for 1 minute to speed things up.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion, poblano, and cumin, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onion and pepper are just tender but not mushy. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Drain the chanterelles and roughly chop them. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet still on medium heat, and add in the garlic. After a couple of minutes, add the chanterelle and button mushrooms and salt to taste. Sauté until they are cooked through and soft.
  4. Heat the oven to 375° F. Butter a baking dish (or an iron skillet—whatever you are going to serve the Queso in—make it large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients). Toss the cheese together with the onion and pepper mixture. Spread that into the skillet, then top with the mushroom mixture. You can just spread it over top, or arrange it in a line down the middle, which I think is prettier. Spoon the huitlacoche over too, if you are able to find some. Pop the dish into the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, roughly 15 minutes. You can wrap the tortillas in foil and put those in the oven to warm at them same time.
  5. Remove the queso from the oven, top with the dollop of crema, and sprinkle the toasted pecans and currants on top. Serve with warm tortillas.

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I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage