Thursday, June 14, 2012

Queso Fundido Recipe - Favorite Dish From Guadalajara

A wonderful trip to Guadalajara, Mexico took us to Casa Fuerte
to taste the favorite dish of our dear friend Diana and her entire family - 
 Queso Fundido.

Diana's husband John is serving as the Mission President in the Mexico,
Guadalajara Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.
Their three year mission is coming to an end at the end of this month
and my friend Barb and I snuck in a short trip to see them before
they come home.

Diana had told her husband that her wish was to be able to go 
into the kitchen of Casa Fuerte and  to learn how to make 
their Queso Fundido.
When we went there, she
introduced me as an American Food Blogger who would like
to feature their restaurant and their queso fundido on my blog.
She asked if we could come into the kitchen and learn how
it was made.

Felipe was our waiter who remembered Diana from previous
visits to the restaurant and he got permission for us to enter
the kitchen and they showed us step by step how they made
this fabulously tasty appetizer.

I just love any opportunity I get to enter a restaurant kitchen and see
how it is run.

At the entrance of the kitchen we met this sweet senora who was making
the wonderful homemade corn tortillas which would be served
with the queso fundido.  Just to her right was the large pot of
tomatillo sauce which would also be part of the dish.

The stone molcajetes which are often used in queso fundidos around
Mexico are heated on this gas grill to make them piping hot.  I had
wondered how they heated them.  We asked how they cleaned them
too and Felipe showed us a stiff wire brush.

Still in the kitchen, Felipe shows us that the block of oaxaca cheese is
first breaded with plain bread crumbs and then deep fried.

The block of cheese is then placed in the piping hot stone dish 
and then steaming hot tomatillo sauce is poured over the cheese.
The sauce immediately begins to bubble from the heat of
the stone bowl.

The dish is garnished tableside with some fresh cilantro
and then the waiter cuts the cheese block into smaller
pieces with two table knives.  The smaller pieces
of cheese allows the cheese to melt into the sauce a little

The appetizer is presented with pico de gallo, soft corn tortillas, crisp whole
corn tortillas and bread and crackers.  

These are the tortillas that our senora was making.  She also had a pile
of what appeared to be overcooked corn tortillas, but later we
realized that these were to be served along with the soft ones
almost like chips but not fried.

Although we focused on the tortillas, I had to feature the bread with
the fabulous presentation of the butter wrapped up in these 
corn husks and tied at the top.  What adorable little butter packets.

Since we went for lunch we ordered a couple of plates
of guacamole and the queso fundido and that was our
entire lunch.  

Can't you just taste this?  It was amazing.

My favorite dish in Cabo is a queso fundido  at Los Deseos
also presented tableside in a molcajete.  My daughter Jessica
had just given me a molcajete for Mother's Day so I was
happy to come home and figure out a recipe to recreate it.

Felipe was so adorable and sweet.   I told him 
that I would feature this on my blog.  
He said excitedly, "WHEN?!!"
I had to laugh a little and said, "Next week?"
  I told him the next
week, but it took a week longer.  Sorry, Felipe, but I hope you
get to see this post!

Casa Fuerte's Queso Fundido

Place a cleaned and seasoned molcajete (which you can
get online or at a local Mexican market - choose one with 
very small holes in the bottom or it will be hard to clean after use,
and season it with a little oil before your first use to help with 
clean up) in a 500 degree oven for one hour to heat up.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce and cheese.

Tomatillo Sauce
3 C. chopped fresh tomatillos
1 1/2 C. chopped sweet onion
16 oz. chicken broth or water
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. salt

Place the tomatillos and onion in a medium sized saucepan
and pour the broth over.  Felipe said they just used water, but
I chose to up the flavor with broth.  Bring the broth to a boil
and boil for about 10-15 minutes or until the tomatillos and
onions are soft.  

Remove from heat and carefully put in a blender.  Be careful
not to burn yourself as you blend it.  Blend until almost smooth
and then add the cilantro and blend it until minced.  Season to
taste with the salt.  Set the sauce aside.
(Felipe told us the sauce was made from tomatillos, onions
and water.  He didn't mention salt or cilantro, but obviously
it had salt in it and when I made the recipe without cilantro,
the sauce was pale and unappetizing.  The addition of
cilantro gave it the color and flavor it needed.  He had
garnished it with fresh cilantro so it seemed like the perfect

Deep Fried Cheese
12 oz. oaxaca or monterey jack cheese
I couldn't find the oaxaca so I used the monterey jack
( a one lb. block is a little big for the dish so I cut a little off
to make mine about 12 oz.)
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 C. dried bread crumbs (I used store bought ones)

Dip the cheese block in the egg wash, making sure that all of it
gets coated with the egg, then dip in the bread crumbs, coating all sides.

Place it on a plate and let rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile heat 2 - 2 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 300 degrees.
I use my electric fondue pot for this.

Carefully place the cheese in the hot oil and quickly deep fry it.
You can see from the pictures at the restaurant that the cheese
is just barely fried.  Remove it carefully and let drain.  This would
work a lot better with a commercial fryer with a basket.  I used
a slotted spoon and a set of tongs and it does pull some of 
the breading off.  Set this aside.

(So here is the deal - I was making this the week after we returned
to try and figure out the recipe and we were having company.  I had
purchased a second molcajete from our local Mexican market.  On my
first block of cheese I didn't chill it after I had breaded it and I tried
frying it at 350 degrees.  The breading just floated right off.  On the
second block, I remembered that it helped the breading to stay on if
you placed it in the fridge first, so I did that and then reduced the heat
on the oil.  This time it worked fine.  

I went ahead and used both blocks, one that was missing 90 percent
of its breading and one that had all the breading.   They both turned
out fine so if you wanted to, you could maybe skip the breading part.  I am 
sure that it makes it a little tastier, but we ate from both bowls and
loved it - you decide!)

Bring the tomatillo sauce to a boil.

Remove the pre-heated molcajete from the oven.  Place it
on a heat proof plate or pad.  I think I am going to get 
a couple of those pads you can place dutch ovens on.  Place
the block of cheese in the hot stone bowl.  Pour the sauce almost
to the top.  This will make enough tomatillo sauce for two bowls.  You
can always use it for another dish.  Let the sauce come to a boil.

Use two table knives to cut the cheese into smaller cubes so that
the cheese will all melt.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.  

Serve with pico de gallo, guacamole, fresh tortillas and chips.

Here you can see the size of cubes the cheese was cut into an the
bubbling sauce.  The molcajete stays hot the whole time you are
eating so the queso fundido stays hot.  Just be careful to not
touch it.  Mine don't have these fun little iron holders but they
worked just as well.  They do get easier to clean with a wire
brush as they get more seasoned with use.  I didn't bother to
season mine with oil before I started using it and I should have.

Here Diana shows off how she ate hers, almost as a cheese taco.
I ate mine by tearing off chunks of tortilla and placing a little cheese
on each bite.  Any way you eat it, it tastes fantastic.

I have to finish by showing you how charming the entrance to 
the restaurant 
Casa Fuerte
is.  They have some kind of evergreen boughs strewn on the floor
so it smells so great as you walk in.

This is the entrance to Casa Fuerte.
It is actually in a suburb-like area of Guadalajara called 
Tlaquepaque's city center was a jewel with wonderful
shops and furniture stores.  

I am so glad Diana had her wishes fulfilled and we had such
a wonderful time learning how to make this tasty appetizer.
And thank you to John and Diana for letting us share in a little
part of their mission.  It was truly a delight.

Even if you can't get to Tlaquepaque give their wonderful dish a try.

I will be posting with


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. Sounds like you had a great trip! How fun that they agreed to let you into the kitchen to take pictures! The dish looks amazing:@)

  2. What an interesting trip..Your daughter was so astute in offering you the dish you needed:)

    Your friends..are even beautiful to look at:)

  3. Jackie this is so exciting!! Now we have the recipe. Thanks for you gift and talent in recreating this so we can make it at home. That was an amazing fun (short) trip. So glad we went. Thanks for doing this. You are so amazing!!

  4. I can't wait to try this. My son was in the Guadalajara mission a few years ago.

  5. Wow, this dish looks amazing and so sinful. How wonderful you were led into the kitchen to see how this dish is prepared. I am intrigued!
    Thanks for sharing Jacqueline. Come check out my Crispy spoon shaped crackers.

  6. What a wonderful post. I think I've seen those earthen pots at World Market and now I want to run out and buy one to try this! That was wonderful that they let you and your friend into the kitchen to watch and photograph the whole process. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  7. I Love this part of Travelling.
    And I also take thousand pictures, so I can remember and go back when I want to feel, see, savor all over again.
    Never been to Mexico and drooling here right now. Their food is just my cup and your pictures so appreciated.

  8. I love learning fun new international recipes through your travels. They are some of my favorite post of yours, because you get to experience the country through beautiful pictures along with the fun recipes to try at home! Thanks for sharing this, I cant wait to make it!


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