I have a big thing for Tex-Mex food. The seven months Eric and I spent in Texas totally spoiled us, too, because there’s really nothing like it anywhere else (at least where we’ve lived since then). I’m sad to say that Hatch chiles were not something I discovered while living in Texas, but I’ve been saving recipes for them for at least three years now. I finally came across some at the farmer’s market (and the farmer told us they’re his favorite variety – score!) and knew right away this queso was the first thing I was going to make.
Homemade queso is something we’ve made before and never gotten around to sharing, mostly because I find it difficult to take pictures of things that a) are a puddle of white and b) don’t stay melty and delicious looking for very long. The secret to great homemade queso, I’ve learned, is white American cheese. It provides that ultra smooth creaminess I crave from queso dip. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, you can try out different varieties of peppers in their place; poblanos and/or jalapeños would be great. Hatch chiles aren’t very spicy, so you’ll want to add a hotter pepper if you want the dip to have some kick. As it is, this recipe will give you a creamy, mild dip that really lets the flavor of the chiles come through.
If you can't find white American cheese, check at your deli counter. I have to get mine there and just ask for an 8 ounce block. Do not use pre-shredded cheese because it's coated with anti-caking agents that will prevent it from melting properly.
Heat oil in small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking an additional minute. Stir in the chiles and 4 tablespoons of milk.
Add the cheese one handful at a time, stirring each addition until melted. If needed, add the remaining milk 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
The dip will thicken as it cools but is easily thinned in the microwave.