Wild Mushroom Queso Fundido
If making the dish with fresh mushrooms (wild or cultivated)
appeals to you more, you’ll need about 5 ounces. Trim the stems and chop them into small pieces (you’ll
have about 2 loosely packed cups), then cook them in 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high for about 3 minutes with a sprinkling of salt. Add the other fresh vegetables and continue on with Step 2.
Right off the stove, while the cheese is at its gooiest, a soft taco of Wild Mushroom Queso Fundido with a spoonful of roasted tomatillo salsa is the stuff of memories.
Working ahead: The dish can be prepared through Step 2; cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, heat the vegetables to sizzling and continue with Step 3.
Serves 4 as a soft taco filling
- 3/4 ounce (about 1/2 cup) dried porcini (or other wild) mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- Hot green chile(s) to taste (roughly 1 large jalapeño or 2 serranos), stemmed, seeded (if you wish) and finely chopped
- 1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded (if you wish) and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons beer, preferably a full-flavored beer like Mexico’s Bohemia
- 8 ounces Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, mild cheddar or brick, shredded (you’ll have about 2 cups)
1. Rehydrate the mushrooms. Scoop the mushrooms into a small bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand for 20 minutes, stirring for even rehydration. Drain off the liquid (it’s great added to mushroom soups), pressing on the mushrooms to remove all the water. Chop into 1/4-inch pieces.
2. Prepare the flavorings. Heat the oil in a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the chile(s), onion, tomato and mushrooms and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the onion begins to soften and brown, 7 or 8 minutes. Add the beer and stir until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is once again dry looking.
3. Finish the queso fundido. With the skillet of beery vegetables over medium-low, sprinkle in the cheese. Stir slowly and constantly until just melted – too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy. Immediately scoop into a warm serving dish (a small fondue dish with a tea light below is ideal) and serve with warm tortillas for making soft tacos or chips to dip.
All recipes are reprinted from Fiesta at Rick’s by Rick Bayless, copyright 2010 by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Photographs by Paul Elledge.