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Chile con queso has fallen on hard times; often it’s just Ro‐tel diced tomatoes and chiles mixed with Velveeta, microwaved, and stirred. We wanted to keep the simplicity but ditch the plasticky flavor and waxy texture.
We started with a base of chicken broth, cream cheese, and cornstarch to help stabilize the cheese and prevent it from breaking. For the cheeses, we chose Monterey Jack for its great flavor and American cheese for its superior meltability. We kept the classic Ro‐tel tomatoes but bumped up their flavor even more with garlic and canned chipotle chile.
We call on Ro-tel tomatoes when we need an extra flavor boost in Southwest- and Texas-inspired recipes. if you can’t find them, you can substitute 1 1/4 cups diced tomatoes plus one minced jalapeño for one 10-ounce can.
Slow-Cooker Chile con Queso
Makes about 5 cups
1 cup chicken broth
If you prefer a mild chili con queso, omit the chipotle. The dip tasted best when made with block cheese that we shredded ourselves; buy a block of American cheese from the deli counter. Preshredded cheese will work, but the dip will be much thicker.
1. Microwave broth, cream cheese, cornstarch, chipotle, garlic, and pepper in large bowl, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Monterey Jack and American cheeses until combined.
2a. For a 1 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker: Transfer mixture to slow cooker, cover, and cook until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 hours on low.
2b. For a 5 1/2- to 7-quart slow cooker: Transfer mixture to 1 1/2‐quart soufflé dish. Set dish in slow cooker and pour water into slow cooker until it reaches about one‐third up sides of dish (about 2 cups water). Cover and cook until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 hours on low. Remove dish from slow cooker.
3. Whisk cheese mixture until smooth, then stir in tomatoes. (Adjust consistency with hot water 2 tablespoons at a time as needed. Dip can be held on warm or low setting for up to 2 hours.)
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