Good natured? Absolutely. Kind? For sure. The best guys to root on the Seahawks with? Without a doubt. But cultured? Evidently not.
Now before I continue, I should probably explain what this dip is all about. “Big Game” is a bit of a tame double entendre here, referencing both the type of meat in the dip (ground moose), and the fact that it’s the perfect snack to devour while watching your favourite football team. Also, for the uninitiated, “queso” is simply “cheese” in Spanish. I know you probably knew that already, but apparently not everybody does. Speaking of which…
…Yesterday, I was a full hour late arriving at my friend’s place to watch the most recent Seahawks victory (sorry, Cowboys fans), and all because I was busy whipping up this dip for the guys. The host for the afternoon, a buddy from high school, had hunted the moose himself and gifted me with some of his riches. I’d been eyeing A Sweet Pea Chef’s Queso Dip with Ground Beef recipe for a while now, and knew I wanted to make a version of it for me and my buddies to enjoy. So, I quickly threw together this adapted version using game meat, and rushed to catch the second half of the match.
Immediately upon entering my buddy’s man cave and greeting the guys, I make it absolutely clear that they’d better be damn well sure to help me annihilate “this here queso dip.” It made me an hour late in joining them, so I needed it to have all been worth the trouble.
Amazingly, they asked me to clarify what I meant by “this here queso dip,” or whatever specific wording I actually used. Somehow, they were uninitiated with the Tex-Mex delicacy that is queso dip. There was even the suggestion that it was something akin to caviar (not in taste or anything, but in terms of being upscale and geared towards “foodies”). I had to explain that it’s essentially the same thing as the microwavable cheese stuff you eat nachos with…but homemade, and much classier, of course.
How none of them, all avid football watchers, could recall Peyton Manning’s “That’s a first rate queso dip,” sing-song line from the Nationwide Insurance commercials is beyond me. It’s always interesting finding out what different people notice and focus on, isn’t it?
Oh well – no matter what it’s called, they loved it! If you have access to ground moose meat, I highly recommend you try it out yourself. If not, I’m sure ground beef would work just as well, considering I adapted this from a ground beef version in the first place. Anyways, here’s the recipe:
Big Game Queso Dip
- 1 lb. ground moose
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 Serrano peppers, sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 cup milk
- small bunch cilantro
- 1/2 of 398ml can plum tomatoes (approx. 3 full tomatoes with juices)
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 200 grams cheddar cheese, grated
- 200 grams Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 1 tomato, diced, for serving (optional)
- tortilla chips, for serving
- Add a lug of olive oil to a large cast-iron skillet and place over medium heat. Add the ground moose, season with a few pinches of salt and dash of pepper, and cook until fully cooked (about 7 minutes), stirring often. If necessary, add extra oil during this process.
- Remove the meat to a bowl, keeping any juices from the meat in the skillet. To those juices, add the onion, peppers, and spices, stirring to incorporate everything together. Let this cook for about 7 minutes, until the peppers and onions are soft. If everything starts to go dry, add a small amount of water to keep things from burning (add just enough so that it can still dissipate in time for the next step). Once cooked, remove the skillet from heat.
- Prepare the cilantro. Cut the stems off right where the leaves start, and discard them. What’s left should be part stem, but mostly leaves. Pluck a few of these leaves as an optional garnish, reserving them for later. Chop the rest up roughly.Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender. Add to it the milk, plum tomatoes (with their juices), and the cilantro. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the contents of the blender into the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add the flour to skillet and stir or whisk to combine. Cook this for about 5 minutes, in which time the sauce will start to thicken.
- Add in your grated cheeses, stirring continually until fully melted and incorporated.
- Add the sour cream to the skillet and return the meat to the skillet as well. Once everything is mixed together well and heated throughout (the meat may need a minute or two to reheat), garnish with some diced tomatoes and a few extra leftover cilantro leaves (both optional).
- Serve with tortilla chips.
Serves a small army of football fans (as an appetizer, of course)