Recipe Remix: “Life Changing” Queso Dip

This recipe is from a signature dish at Matt’s El Rancho in Austin, Texas. The dish is coined as “life-changing” because of how the cheese just melts not only on the nachos but in your mouth. I’ve tried this recipe personally and I can definitely say it’s the savory saltiness of the cheese mixed with a hint of spice that gets your taste buds doing the happy dance. Here’s the recipe:

Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef chuck (20% fat)
½ medium onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 large poblano chile, chopped
3 jalapeños, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups (or more) milk
½ pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
½ pound young medium or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, sour cream, chopped chives, chopped cilantro, and corn chips (for serving)

Heat oil in a large skillet over high. Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon, until browned on all sides but not completely cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, leaving as much fat in pan as possible.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, 6–8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and reserved beef along with any accumulated juices to pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the skillet, until liquid is evaporated, 8–10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, let sit until ready to use.

Nutrition Information:
Queso Assembly:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, chile, jalapeños, and garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, 8–10 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt, and continue to cook until juices have evaporated, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and continue to cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, gradually add both cheeses, and cook, stirring constantly, until cheese is completely melted and queso is smooth. If it seems too thick, stir in a little more milk.

Spread warm picadillo in a 2-qt. baking dish. Pour hot queso over meat. Top with a generous scoop each of pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. Sprinkle with chives and cilantro. Serve hot dip with chips.
Do Ahead: Queso can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat before assembling.