Nancy's Queso Fundido with Goat Cheese

        From the blog For Love of the Table

1 lb. fresh poblanos (about 6 medium)

2 T. olive oil, plus more for peppers

1 medium yellow or white onion (8 oz.), sliced 1/4-inch thick

Salt and pepper

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 t. dried oregano

1/3 to 1/2 c. heavy cream, crème fraiche, or Mexican crema

1/2 lb. Monterey Jack, coarsely shredded

1/2 lb. soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 to 1/3 c. toasted pepitas (see note)

Tortilla chips...or warm, soft tortillas

 

Rub the poblanos with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Broil the peppers, turning as the skin chars, until they are blackened and blistered all over.  Set aside to cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the blackened skin, the stems and cores, white ribs, and seeds.  (Use gloves if you hands are sensitive to the heat of chiles.)  Cut into 1/4-inch strips and set aside.

 

In a heavy oven proof skillet (cast iron is perfect) with a 10-inch cooking surface (see note), heat the oil over moderate heat.  Add the onions along with a pinch of salt and cook until soft and beginning to caramelize—about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and oregano and cook just until fragrant (less than a minute).  Add the poblanos, tossing to coat in the onion/garlic mixture.  Heat through and season to taste with salt & pepper.  If you are working ahead for a party, you may stop at this point and set the mixture aside at room temperature for a couple of hours.  If you are working further ahead than that, scrape the mixture into a container and chill.  Return to the pan and heat through before continuing. 

 

Add the cream to the hot rajas and bring to a simmer (this will happen almost immediately).  Remove from the heat and scatter the Monterey Jack over all, followed by the goat cheese. 

 

Place the skillet under the broiler (set on high) and broil until the jack cheese is melted, the goat is beginning to be tinged with gold and the cheese is bubbling at the edges.  Sprinkle with the pepitas and serve immediately with tortilla chips or warm soft tortillas.  Serves 4 to 8 (depending on appetites and  other items being served).


(Recipe adapted from The Elote Cafe Cookbook by Jeff Smedstad)

 

Notes:

  • Toast the pepitas in a dry skillet set over medium high heat. Cook, tossing and stirring constantly until the pepitas are browned in spots and slightly puffed. Transfer to a cool plate. 
  • If you have roasted poblanos in your freezer (and don't know their original fresh weight), weigh out about 7 oz. of the roasted peppers for this recipe. 
  • A wide skillet (10-inch surface) is the best thing for this recipe. It keeps the layer of cheese thin so it will melt quickly and completely without becoming unpleasantly oily and stretchy. If you would like to make half a recipe, us a skillet with a 7-inch cooking surface. 
  • If you would like to make open faced sandwiches, toast slices of a sturdy artisanal loaf and spread on a baking sheet. Before adding any of the cheese, divide the creamy rajas over the bread slices and top with the cheeses. Broil until melted and bubbling. Scatter pepitas over and serve. 
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