It’s official: I cannot be trusted around cheese.
It doesn’t matter, really, what kind of cheese it is — soft, hard, shredded, string, stinky, mild, sharp — it all comes into play. But if it’s warm and gooey and melty like what you see above, I’m especially unruly. Come within three feet of me and my queso fundido and I might have to fight you. Just saying. It’s a tough world out there, and this girl’s got to protect her cheese.
I cannot believe I’d never made queso fundido (which means, quite appropriately, “melted cheese”) before in my own kitchen, because I go crazy for the stuff at Mexican restaurants. Admittedly (since I no longer have any shame in sharing what my favorite foods are), one of my favorites is the skillet queso at Chili’s. Whoaaaa, nelly — I get a little territorial with that one, too. So when mine eyes happened upon an easysauce recipe for homemade garlic and mushroom queso fundido, I wasted no time in getting that dip on my table and into my cheesemonger belly.
People, this stuff couldn’t be easier to make. Basically, sauteing the mushrooms, onions and garlic is the most difficult and time-consuming part of the recipe, and that takes about 10 minutes, no sweat. The rest of the time you watch the cheese melt and bubble and brown in the oven until it turns into an ooey-gooey masterpiece. And unless you have the patience of a saint (read: not me), you can rejoice because this dish takes approximately 20 minutes to come together in total.
Sprinkle it with cilantro, serve it with sour cream, salsa or guacamole, share it with friends or eat the whole thing before your husband gets home, whatever… it’s all good.
Garlic and Mushroom Queso Fundido
Recipe adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray
Yields: 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red or yellow onion
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms have released all their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in thyme, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Top with half of the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; top with remaining mushroom mixture. Place pie plate in the oven and bake until cheese is melted, browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.