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Three-Ingredient Queso Is the Thing You Should Make for Every Party

When I bring food to a party, I usually make one of two mistakes. Either I try to outdo myself—spending too many hours and/or dollars frying too many chicken wings or like, five types of dip—or I just give up and I’m the schmo bringing a bag of Hint of Lime tortilla chips and five fridge beers. I arrive to the party either manic and frazzled or sheepish and trying to play off my tortilla chips as some weird form of culinary humility. Neither really works. When I’m smart, I just make queso.

There is a plate of nachos at a bar in Brooklyn that I have found to be the perfect nachos, in that their cheese comes in sauce form rather than quick-to-congeal melted cheese form. Nothing is put under a broiler. Also there are like three kinds of homemade salsa which is pretty cool and something I will literally never recreate at home. The thing I do like to recreate at home, especially any time I am attending an event where there is a screen playing a sporting event (like, what a coincidence, this weekend’s Super Bowl), is the queso. It has three ingredients and takes maybe ten to fifteen minutes to make. You can reheat it at your friend’s place or, honestly, just make it on their stove. (Do your own dishes, though.)

Queso is, a friend recently pointed out, a better comfort food than macaroni and cheese, if only because it’s easier to eat a lot of. It’s also the ultimate Super Bowl snack, in that it is something that you would rarely make otherwise and also it’s easy to eat while your eyeballs are fixated on large men smashing into and harming each other 🙂 .

To make this queso, here is what you do. Buy two packs of sliced, individually wrapped American cheese. The recipe calls for the white kind, which gives you less of an Easy Cheese flavor, but yellow works too. Whatever calls to you. Get a can of pickled jalapeños. Get a jug of whole milk. Anyone who makes this recipe with skim milk is my enemy. Chop the jalapeños roughly, then combine them in a pot with the cheese slices (peeling these is a surprisingly calming activity) and a cup of milk. Cook on medium heat, stirring, until everything comes together and looks like queso.

That’s all! Put it in a bowl next to the chips. If you want to pull out all the stops, put some chips a tray, pour the queso over them, and then glop on some splashes of salsa. The queso makes 50 percent of the chips soggy, which is the exact correct ratio. I am not watching the Super Bowl this weekend but I am sure as hell making this queso.

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