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Creamy Queso DIp

The devil's in the details for this queso dip that's magically velvety without the Velvetta. Using freshly shredded cheese is key; pre-shredded cheese is usually coated with ingredients like potato starch to keep it from clumping. Making the trip from the factory to the grocery store to your kitchen gives the potato starch time to dry out your cheese, giving a gritty queso. Coating your freshly shredded cheese at the last minute in cornstarch will also prevent clumping without drawing out the necessary moisture. The cornstarch will also set your leftover queso beautifully. If you're going to reheat the leftovers, do so gently to prevent the queso from splitting.

4 cups freshly shredded cheddar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can Rotel, undrained

1 can evaporated milk

salt and pepper

1/4 cup milk, any kind

Optional: 1 cup cooked, chopped bacon, 1/4 cup chopped green onion, 2 T chopped cilantro

  1. Toss the cheese and cornstarch together; set aside.

  2. Heat the butter over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions smell sweet and are a little brown, 10-ish minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.

  3. Add the Rotel, juices and all, and the evaporated milk. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.

  4. Turn off the heat and add 1/3 of shredded cheese, then whisk until completely incorporated. Repeat until all the cheese is completely incorporated. If your queso is too thick, add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. If you're using any of the optional toppings, stir them in now. Serve hot with tortilla chips and/or pork rinds.

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