Do all small towns have questionable Mexican restaurants, or are they only in Ohio? You know the ones, where they bring your food before you actually order? OK, I'm exaggerating, you order, then 30 seconds later a molten hot plate of food is plopped in front of you. Well, you might have guessed they aren't my favorite, BUT they have one dish I'm sure to order and enjoy, the aptly named, white cheese dip. A creamy cheesy sauce with a little heat from diced chiles, perfect when eaten with a salty, crunchy tortilla chip.
A few years ago my dad asked what kind of cheese was used and our waiter told him white American. My dad and I were highly suspicious that in this, surely authentic, Mexican restaurant they were making dip from AMERICAN cheese. Well, after some internet digging, that's the cheese indeed.
I developed this recipe to get as close to the restaurant style as possible, I even add more chiles because we like it spicy. This recipe serves 4, about 1/2 cup, portions but it easily doubles or triples.
The only tricky part is this dip tends to cool and set a bit fast. To remedy this, I either put it in a mini crock pot, or warm ramekins in my toaster oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. The ramekins I use have holders to keep our hands from getting burnt, if you don't have holders, use towels, trivets, potholders, whatever you have handy.
We like this dip with tortilla chips, it also makes a great topping for nachos, tacos, enchiladas, etc. if you're having a Mexican themed dinner.
If this is the only dish at local Mexican restaurants you like too, rejoice, now you can make it at home! Enjoy!
Step 1: Gather and Prepare Ingredients
2 cups (8 oz.) white American cheese (I use Land O Lakes), shredded
1/4 cup half and half
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
2 Tbsp. pickled hot peppers, finely chopped, optional
Step 2: Make Dip and Enjoy
Put the half and half, entire contents of can of diced chiles, pickled hot peppers, if using, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook a couple minutes until heated through and the half and half makes small bubbles at the edges of the pan.
Start adding the cheese a handful at a time, stirring constantly. Wait until the cheese is melted before adding another handful, continue until all the cheese is added. This whole process takes about 5 minutes total.
When all the cheese is incorporated, turn the heat down to low and serve from the pan, or transfer to a mini crock pot to keep warm.
Serve with tortilla chips or dipper of your choice.
We've never had leftovers, so I can't say if this reheats well, I'd imagine it would be OK if gently warmed in the microwave or in a small saucepan.