This spicy cheese sauce came about after some unexpected debate about this other cheese sauce I made earlier this year. It’s been an incredible hit, but some honest readers were having issues with the texture. I went back to the stove, made it to the the letter of my own recipe and it still worked for me. I’m still stumped on what those few were experiencing, but in good faith effort and honest interest of making it a whole recipe everyone can enjoy, I went back to the pot. This time with new cheeses, inspiration, and motivation. It’s bolder. It’s spicier. It’s cheesier. And definitely cleaner!
Cheese sauces and dips are kind of like guacamole… they’re everywhere and come in varying styles. I have to admit I’m a complete sucker for store-bought cheese sauce… melted in the microwave and poured all over cheap store-bought tortilla chips. I’m embarrassed to tell you that, but it’s painfully true, and the worst part is that the insane urge hits me around 11:30 pm; the most inappropriate time ever to eat junk food. At least if I made them both from scratch, my guilt factor would be absent.
Let’s not even talk about about how cheese sauce is far from being a Latin staple, let alone a Cuban one. My knowledge and affinity for cheese sauce comes from childhood days eating chili dogs smothered in cheese, or nachos with cheese marrying everything; or even the most unimaginable — cheese fries — and thankfully, most of the “addiction” dissipated. Okay, mostly the chili dogs. Cheesy nachos still excite me.
And, fries… well let’s talk about them since they’re the supporting act here.
In my continued uncovering of Peruvian foods with Sargento Cheese, I’ve learned they’re reputably known for their hundreds of varieties of papas. Plenty of them for every species of mankind to enjoy. In this post for my recipe development, I made a classic Peruvian potato dish. That folkloric plate also calls for a cheese sauce.
I had to hook up potatoes a different way this time.
In all my research, I also keep finding all sorts of cheese incorporated into their foods. It’s no news Mexican cuisine takes the cake with cheesy foods. Next to tortillas, cheese is probably the most ubiquitous. And that’s just alright.
In deciding how to make a “fusion” Peruvian dish or better yet, how to take an American classic fave — seen in most finger licking good bars — cheese fries were the perfect antithesis of a rubix’s cube. It was so easy to settle on fresh cut fries and a sauce made with lovely cheeses and Peruvian influence.
The papas a la huancaína dish bears as super caliente queso salsa made with yellow chili peppers, another staple in Peruvian cuisine. I remembered that and went for the source.
And since this new cheese sauce is kind of a remix of the 1st one I made here, I had to switch up the cheeses and ingredients. I wanted to make this one spicier.
The yellow chili paste did that. I still haven’t been able to find fresh yellow chilis at any of my local market, even my ethnic ones. Fortunately, this $2.29 bottle does the trick every time.
Paired with Sargento‘s chipotle cheddar and muenster slices, the cheese dip was perfect. Seriously. If I thought the first one was amazing, then this one needs to be bottled up.
And in true American fashion, a good basket of fresh cut fries are only perfect with a creamy, cheesy, and picante sauce.
Summer is done, but good eating shouldn’t be back-burned. Pick up some potatoes, grab your fave cheeses you know will marry well together, add some heat and enjoy… pass the platter on this one. By the way, this only takes 6 minutes. 6 minutes!
QUESO FRESCO SAUCE
- 2 slices of Sargento Chipotle Cheddar cheese, chopped
- 3 slices of Sargento Muenster cheese, chopped
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. yellow chili paste
- pinch of salt
In medium sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and whisk until butter and flour are well-blended and smooth. Add and fold in cheese using wooden spoon. Whisk in milk and stir until all ingredients are well blended. Cook on medium-high heat until cheese starts bubbling, approximately 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in hot sauce and cumin. Reduce heat to low and stir to blend. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. For a thicker sauce, add one additional tablespoon of flour. To thin out cheese sauce, add 1/8 cup more milk.
Pour into serving bowl for dipping or pour nachos or any other dish requiring cheese.
*minced, seeded jalapeños can substitute the hot sauce