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Chile Con Queso

2 tb Unsalted Butter
2 tb All-Purpose Flour
3/4 c Half And Half -- scalded
1/3 c Beer
1 tb Vegetable Oil
1 sm Onion -- finely chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper, Seeded -- finely chopped Or 1 cn Green Chili Peppers, Chopped -- drained
1 Clove Garlic -- minced
1 c Tomatoes, Canned And Drained -- chopped
1/2 ts Ground Cumin
2 c Sharp Cheddar Cheese -- Shredded
2 c Monterey Jack Cheese -- Shredded
Salt -- to taste
Hot Red Pepper Sauce -- to Taste
Tortilla Chips -- for Dipping

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and let bubble without browning for about 2 mins.

2. Whisk in the half-and-half and beer. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 mins.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, chile pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 3 mins. Add the tomatoes and cumin and cook until the excess moisture is evaporated, about 3 mins. Stir the vegetables into the sauce. (This sauce base can be made up to 1 day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat.)

4. Gradually stir the cheeses into the sauce. Cook until the cheeses are melted, but do not boil. Season with salt and hot sauce to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl ( a small slow cooker or a thick ceramic soup bowl works best to hold the heat) and serve warm, with tortilla chips for dipping and cold beer. Makes 8 to 12 servings

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