feisty chile con carne dip with chips
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Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip

Feisty Chile con Carne dip is the perfect, addicting snack for parties. It’s cheesy, spicy, and full of taco-ey beef goodness. The dip reheats well without breaking and will stay smooth and delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 12 people

Ingredients

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE

  • 3 cups American cheese, shredded*
  • 5 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded*
  • 24 oz evaporated milk (2 12-oz. cans, divided**)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp juice from jarred jalapeños (or hot sauce)
  • 15 oz canned petite diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 8 oz (2 cans) roasted green chiles, well drained

FOR THE GROUND MEAT

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground beef***
  • 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

OPTIONAL GARNISHES

  • cilantro, chopped
  • scallions, thinly sliced (green parts only)
  • cotija cheese, grated
  • hot sauce
  • jarred or fresh jalapeños, chopped

FOR SERVING

  • 2 bags sturdy (restaurant style) tortilla chips

Instructions

FOR THE GROUND MEAT

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef. Brown the meat, breaking it up into small chunks with a wooden spoon and turning occasionally, until all traces of pink are gone, about 8–10 minutes. 
  • Drain the meat. Return to the skillet and place over medium-low heat. Mix in the spices and simmer until fragrant, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE

  • Toss the cheeses with the cornstarch in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Mix in 2 cups of the evaporated milk along with the jalapeño juice or hot sauce (if using). Place the saucepan over low heat. Use a whisk to stir constantly for 5 minutes, or until the cheese sauce has smoothed out and thickened (it will look clumpy at first). 
  • Mix in the tomatoes and chiles. Check the consistency of the sauce: if it's too thick, add additional evaporated milk (slowly! add a tablespoon at a time) until the mix reaches your preferred consistency.
  • To serve, add the sauce to a chafing dish over lowest possible heat. Scoop the meat on top of the sauce at the center of the dish. Garnish with desired toppings and set out tortilla chips for guests to serve themselves.

Notes

*Do not, under any circumstances, use bagged, pre-shredded cheese. Bagged cheeses contain starch to prevent clumping and it's impossible to adjust the recipe for the amount of added starch. Long story short: it will ruin your sauce.
**Reserve the extra evaporated milk in case you need to thin out leftover dip. To reheat, microwave on 50% power, stirring every minute, until hot.
***You can reduce the amount of ground beef and make up the difference with Mexican chorizo.