Queso Flameado

A decidedly Tex-Mex affair, queso flameado (flaming cheese) is a mixture of assorted white cheeses with chilies, onions, garlic and homemade chorizo served bubbling hot from the oven with warm tortillas..

Queso Flameado

(informed by recipes by the Homesick Texan)

For the Chorizo

1/2 pound fatty pork, coarsely ground
1 ancho and 1 guajillo chile, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chipotle chili sauce

Loosely combine all ingredients together in a bowl.  Pinch off ping pong ball-sized pieces and fry in a hot skillet until brown and crusty on the outside.  Transfer to a side dish to drain.

For the Vegetables

1/2 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded
1/2 Spanish onion, cut into wedges
1/2 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded

Place all ingredients in a heavy skillet and broil until blistered and partially blackened, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, cover and let stand until cool enough to handle.  Cut into strips.

To Prepare

Combine vegetables with 2 cups of assorted shredded white cheeses such as asadero and Oaxaca in a heavy skillet.  Arrange cooked chorizo over the top and dress with a little chipotle chile sauce.  Place in a 350 degree oven until bubbly, about 10-15 minutes.

Spoon mixture onto warm tortillas and serve immediately.

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

Locally-milled corn grits are simmered in homemade vegetable stock, then combined with farmhouse cheddar, fried onions, fresh peppers, garlic, cumin and cilantro and topped with smoky chipotle chili sauce..

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

For the Sauce

1 cup fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 chipotles en adobo, diced
1/4 cup Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
sea salt

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt as needed.

For the Grits

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 large poblano pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
several sprigs fresh cilantro, torn

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and fry 30 seconds.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic and fry until lightly browned, then remove from heat.

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in the corn meal. Cook and stir until thick, adjusting consistency with additional stock if needed.

Add 2/3 of the cooked vegetables to the grits, along with any remaining melted butter. Fold in the cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then cover and let stand 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon grits onto a plate or into a bowl and top with spoonfuls of chipotle sauce. Spoon remaining vegetables over the top, then garnish with a little more cheese and cilantro.

Omnivore’s Option

Add 1/4 pound seasoned, browned ground bison or pastured beef to the chipotle chili sauce.

This post is part of the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday!

BBQ Heritage Pork Cheeks with Charro Beans and Vegetable Escabèche

Heritage pork cheeks are slow-roasted with tomatoes, onions, peaches and chipotle and served with long-simmered charro beans and vegetable escabèche..

BBQ Pork Cheeks

BBQ Heritage Pork Cheeks with Charro Beans and Vegetable Escabèche

Melt 1 tablespoon leaf lard (substitute bacon grease) in a Dutch oven.  Add trimmed pork cheeks and turn to coat lightly with melted fat, then season with salt, pepper and chipotle powder.  Cover with a mixture of chopped onions, tomatoes and garlic and pour in just a little water.  Seal the lid and cook until the pork is tender, about 90 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pork to a platter, then place the Dutch oven on the burner over medium-low heat, add chopped peaches and a teaspoon of molasses and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes.  Return the pork to the pot and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve with charro beans and vegetable escabèche.

Ancho-Grilled Sirloin with Avocado and Papaya Pesto

Grass-fed sirloin is dry-rubbed with freshly-ground ancho chiles, roasted paprika, cumin, smoked pepper and sea salt and then pan-grilled and served with a raw avocado oil-based pesto containing cilantro, garlic, bits of dried papaya, macadamia nuts and chipotle powder..

Ancho-Grilled Sirloin


For the Dry Rub

2 ancho (dried poblano) chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon roasted paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon rapadura
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked black pepper

Place all ingredients into a coffee or spice grinder and pulse into a fine powder. Place in an airtight container and store away from heat and light for up to 3 months.

For the Pesto

1/3 cup raw avocado oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1 tablespoon unsweetened dried papaya
1 1/2 tablespoons macadamia, pistachio or hazlenuts
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients except oil into the cup of a food processor and pulse a couple of times until coarsely chopped.  Stir in oil then adjust flavor with salt and pepper.

To prepare

Rinse and pat dry 1 or more 1 inch-thick sirloin steaks.  Coat all sides with spice rub, then wrap loosely in butcher paper and refrigerate 3 or more hours.

Allow steaks to sit on the counter 30 minutes, then grill 3 minutes per side in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Transfer skillet to a 400 degree oven and cook until medium-rare, about 10 minutes.

Transfer steaks to a cutting board and allow to stand 5 minutes before carving into 1/2 inch-thick slices. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese and dress with pesto.

Chili con Calabaza Asada (Roasted Pumpkin Chili)

Oven-roasted pumpkin, fried pork belly, fresh & dried chiles, onions, toasted corn, cumin and oregano..


Chili con Calabaza Asada (Roasted Pumpkin Chili)

Serves 2

1-2 small pie pumpkins, roasted
3-4 dried chiles such as Ancho, Pasilla, New Mexico and Chipotle
1 fresh poblano pepper, chopped
1 Serrano or 2 jalapeño peppers, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/4 pound pork belly, diced (can eliminate if vegetarian)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, cooked (optional)
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
salt & pepper

Split the pumpkins lengthwise through the stem and scrape out the seeds and stringy material.  Season with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven until softened, about 15 minutes.  Set aside to cool, then scrape out the flesh with the edge of a spoon.

Meanwhile, place the dried chiles in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes. Remove from water, split and remove stems and seeds.  Process in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed., corn,

Cook pork belly over medium-low heat until crisp.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, then add the cumin seed and toast until fragrant.

Add the peppers and onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the corn, garlic, pumpkin and oregano and stir to combine.

Stir in the the chile paste, then thin with a little water (use the soaking water if you like).  Add beans if using, then reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls and serve with fried corn tortillas.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays!