Queso Fundido (Mexican Fondue and a Mexican Cooking Lesson)

Mexican Fondue is a simple 4-ingredient appetizer you can whip up in 10 minutes to satisfy hungry guests, or just feed your hungry self for a scrumptious lunch!

Mushroom Queso Fundido

Fundido. Doesn’t that word just make you smile? Whatever it is, it’s gotta be fun, don’t ya think?

And when you see how easy this Mexican fundido is to make, you will smile (and rub your tummy). It’s a great dish to serve as an appetizer, snack, or light lunch, or part of a tapas selection.

Earlier this summer I got together with a group of friends at our house, and my Spanish/German friend Christine gave us all another wonderful Mexican cooking lesson. We chopped and stirred and cooked and laughed together all afternoon, and then at the end of it, the husbands joined us and we shared an amazing Mexican fiesta, complete with tequila shots and great stories.

Mexican Table Setting

Our Menu, so light and fresh and full of flavour:

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Ice Tea)
Ceviche de Camarones on Tostadas (Shrimp Ceviche)
Queso Fundido con Chorizo o Champiñones
Salsa Verde en Molcajete (Stone-Ground Fire Roasted Green Salsa)
Salsa Roja de Guajillo (Red Guajillo Salsa)
Salsa Mexicana (Pico de Gallo)
Tortillas de Maíz (Handmade Corn Tortillas)
Ensalada de Nopales (Cactus Leaf Salad)
Chiles en Nogada (Pasilla Peppers with Walnut Sauce)
Arroz Blanco con Granos de Elote (White Rice with Corn Kernels)
Chimichangas Dulces with Strawberries and Mango
Cafe de Olla (Mexican Spiced Coffee)

 

The cooking lesson started with Christine giving us a presentation about Mexican ingredients and food history.

Mexican cooking presentation Then we all got busy. We roasted tomatillos, peppers, onions and garlic for the green salsa.

pan roasting ttomatillos, chilis, onions, and garlic We ground them in Christine’s lovely, old (very heavy) stone mortars. The salsas were also served right in the mortar bowls at the table.

mortar and pestle, grinding the onions and garlic We got the hibiscus blossoms boiling for the Agua de Jamaica.

jamaica/hibiscus blossoms for tea Christine showed us how to trim the prickles off the nopales (cactus leaves).

trimming prickles from nopales cactus We chopped tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos for the Pico de Gallo,

fresh tomato salsa is the base for other dishes some of which was mixed into the Shrimp Ceviche.

ingredients for shrimp ceviche Christine demonstrated how our hands are the most efficient tools we have.

hands are best for mixing We roasted and skinned poblano chiles (Pasilla peppers) for the Spanish-influenced stuffed peppers with walnut sauce and pomegranates.

peeling poblano peppers poblano peppers with walnut sauce

Dessert was so good – Chimichangas Dulces (tortilla packages baked with bananas, strawberries or mangoes, and chocolate, brushed with cinnamon and sugar).

chimichangas dulces with strawberries how to fold the chimichangas

As you can see, we made a whole array of Mexican dishes, but it was the simple Queso Fundido that stole the show. We made one of each version – the chorizo one and the mushroom one. Everyone clamoured to dip tortilla chips into the oozy, melty cheese with the flavourful bits of sausage or ‘shrooms. The  fundido skillets were the first dishes empty.

I’d say that’s a sign of a great dish: few ingredients, made in minutes, and wonderfully, irresistibly tasty. I’m planning to keep chorizo in my freezer and cheese in my fridge from now on so I can whip this up at a moment’s notice when unexpected company arrives, or the fundido urge strikes!

* * * * *

Mexican chorizo fondue

Queso Fundido con Chorizo

(Mexican Cheese Fondue with Chorizo Sausage)

  • 8 oz (225gms) chorizo sausages, spicy or mild (gluten-free, if neccessary)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 3 cups (10 oz/300gms) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or mixed half aged cheddar + half mozzarella cheese
  • tortilla chips or soft tortillas for serving

Adjust the top rack of the oven so it is about 6 inches (15cm) below the broiler element. Preheat the oven to broil.

There are two types of chorizo sausages – cured and un-cured (raw). If the chorizo sausage is uncured, cut open the casing and remove the sausage. Crumble the sausage into a small (7 – 8 inch) skillet, cast iron if possible. If you have the cured type of chorizo, cut it into chunks and whiz it in a food processor or mini chopper until coarsely ground with some pea-sized pieces. (Alternately, chop it finely by hand.)

Brown the chorizo and onion  in the skillet over medium heat until all the fat has melted out and the sausage is starting to brown in places, about 5 minutes. Reserve one tablespoon of the sausage crumbles. Stir the salsa into the remaining sausage and cook one minute more. If you are not using a cast iron skillet, move the mixture to a small broil-proof dish.

Cover the sausage with the shredded cheese.

Place under the broiler, and broil until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown in spots, 5 – 10 minutes. Watch it carefully, as it can easily burn.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved sausage.

Serve hot with tortilla chips for dipping and salsa on the side for those who want a little extra spice, or serve with soft tortillas to fill with a spoonful of the fundido and a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top, and salsa on the side.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

* OR, make this equally delicious version:

  oozy cheese in queso fundido

Queso Fundido con Champiñones

(Mexican Cheese Fondue with Mushrooms)

    • 2 teaspoons oil
    • 8 oz (225gms) mushrooms (4 cups, finely sliced)
    • ¼ cup onion, finely diced
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ cup (60ml) salsa
    • 3 cups (10 oz/300gms) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or mixed half aged cheddar + half mozzarella cheese
    • tortilla chips or soft tortillas for serving

Adjust the top rack of the oven so it is about 6 inches (15cm) below the broiler element. Preheat the oven to broil.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Finely slice the mushrooms and add them to the oil with the chopped onion. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Sauté until the mushrooms have released their juices and then keep cooking until the juices have evaporated again, with the pan dry and the mushrooms starting to brown at the edges, 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve a few mushroom slices, then add the salsa and cook for 1 minute more, until most of the liquid from the salsa has evaporated.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a small (7 – 8 inch) cast iron skillet or broil-proof dish.

sauteed mushrooms for Mexican fondue cheese layer, Mexican Fondue

Cover with the shredded cheese.

Place under the broiler, and broil until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown in spots, 5 – 10 minutes. Watch it carefully, as it can easily burn.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved mushroom slices.

Serve hot with tortilla chips for dipping and salsa on the side for those who want a little extra spice, or serve with soft tortillas to fill with a spoonful of the fundido and a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top, and salsa on the side.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Guten Appetit!

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Salsa  Mexicana (Pico de Gallo Salsa) Three Ways

Agua Fresca de Chia (Chia Limeade)

A Taste of Sun and Some Flaming Guacamole

Paella Party! Olé!

Gazpacho – a Cool Soup for a Hot Day

 

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