Monday, January 26, 2009

Turkey Con Queso Bake...

Pull out your best cheese grater (or be speedy and use a food processor) as you are going to need it if you want to make this Turkey Con Queso Bake dish we had for dinner tonight.

You'll need one of those, so you can grate up a mountain of sharp white cheddar to create the cheesy sauce. To thicken the sauce, after softening a chopped onion and a couple cloves of garlic, a couple tablespoons of flour are tossed in and woven into the vegetables to cook out its raw taste. Since the cheese will provide ample richness, the sauce is lightened up by using a combination of chicken broth and milk for the liquids needed. Once the sauce began to bubble and thicken from the heat below, it is taken off that heat so we could gradually stir in the generous shreds of cheese, adding to its sumptuous texture.

A portion of that sharp sauce is stirred into a filling consisting of diced pieces of cooked turkey, diced tomatoes, briny green olives, a few green onions, fresh cilantro and a chopped jalapeño for a dash of heat. If you wanted a more fiery kick, leave the seeds in, if not, go ahead and remove the seeds and thin membrane so you get a little heat, allowing more of the pepper's flavor to come through. While the majority of this is stuffed into flour tortillas, a scant cup is spread over the bottom of the baking dish, making for a chunky bed to lay the filled tortillas on. You will notice that there is still a lavish amount of the cheese sauce left - don't be shy, just close your eyes and drench the entire pan so each naked tortilla is given a piquant coat to protect it from the heat of the oven.

As these bake, the sauce will continue to thicken, be absorbed by the tortillas and leave you with just enough extra left behind in the bottom of the pan to give each serving a posh spoonful over the top. I thought I may have read the recipe wrong when it had you spoon the same ingredients you used in the filling into the bottom of the pan, rather than just using the sauce alone, but we both commented that it was an extra flavor bonus to have those bits added on top. The tortillas held up quite well - they were soft enough to easily use a fork to cut your bites out, yet retained their integrity, so they pulled out of the pan well and were not mushy in the least.