Female. Lives in United States/Illinois/Chicago, speaks English. My interests are Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking/Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.
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United States, Illinois, Chicago, English, Female, Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking, Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Queso Fundido with Bacon and Chipotles

Last week we received our second shipment from the Grateful Palate Bacon of the Month Club. This month's bacon is New Braunfels Pepper Bacon. According to the Grateful Palate literature, New Braunfels Smokehouse is a family-owned company which opened for business in 1943. The town of New Braunfels is located between Austin and San Antonio in Texas and it has a long history of German residents with expertise in curing meats. The expertise comes through with this particular bacon...it's really lean and the pepper on it gives it amazing flavor.

With this bacon shipment, we also received a recipe for Queso Fundido with Bacon and Chipotles. We love queso fundido but hadn't made it at home before, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Queso Fundido with Bacon and Chipotles
Recipe based on the one provided by the Grateful Palate
Serves 4 appetizer-sized portions or 2 entree-sized portions

4 ounces sliced bacon
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped (see note below)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
4 corn tortillas
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and drain the grease from the pan.

2. Add the olive oil to the pan. Then add the onion and cook, stirring it until browned. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the chipotle chilies and stir to combine.

3. Place the cheese in a gratin dish and crumble in the bacon. Stir in the onion and chipotle mixture.

4. Lightly brush the tortillas with water, wrap them in foil, and place them in the oven to warm. At the same time, place the gratin dish in the oven and heat until the cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with oregano. Serve immediately with the warmed tortillas.

This is a delicious dish for those who love spicy flavor and don't mind an occassional meal with a high fat content. The cheese provided a smooth, creamy backdrop for the spicy chipotle chilies and the sharp pepper bacon. In addition to a nice mix of flavors, this dish also has pleasant textural contrasts...soft cheese, tender onions and chilies, and crispy bacon.

As an aside, this recipe introduced me to chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. I have eaten chipotle peppers before, and I had heard of adobo sauce, but I never knew a product existed that was specifically Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce. You can find these in the Mexican or Ethnic Foods section at your grocery store. My store did have them, but I had to look long and hard on the shelves to finally track them down. Here's a photo of the ones I found to assist you with your search, if these happen to be new to you as well.

So this Queso Fundido was great as a meal and would probably be even better as a prelude to some other terrific Mexican dishes. Best with margaritas or a Corona.

Next time: It's time for this month's "Is My Blog Burning?" event. Beans is the theme and I have an easy yet sophisticated recipe in mind.