Wisconsin Queso Blanco Burger


by Joanna and Adam of Inspired Taste

When Adam and I were asked to write a guest post for Wisconsin Cheese Talk, we immediately said yes, for four reasons:

  1. We love cheese.
  2. We love Wisconsin Cheese.
  3. We thought it would be the perfect excuse to make and then devour these Wisconsin Queso Blanco Burgers.
  4. Did we mention we love cheese?

Any meal that starts with grass-fed beef burgers made on the grill and topped with a mouthwatering cheesy and roasted chili pepper sauce with fresh avocado and Pico de Gallo is something definitely worth talking about. The star, of course, is the creamy Queso sauce that uses Wisconsin Monterey Jack cheese, a mild yet slightly tart, buttery cheese often found in Mexican-and-Southwestern-style cooking. Taking full advantage of our grill, we made ourselves some roasted jalapeño and Anaheim chili peppers that were minced finely and added to play off that Monterey Jack cheese sauce, a sauce that can easily double as the perfect dip or topping for nachos. If you are anything like us, it’s even perfect to eat with a spoon.

Wisconsin Queso Blanco Burgers

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs grass-fed ground chuck; 80% lean, 20% fat
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 dashes hot sauce (we used Cholula Mexican Hot Sauce)
Queso sauce (recipe follows)
1 avocado, sliced
Pico de gallo (recipe follows)

Place the meat in a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Use a fork to carefully mix the meat and seasonings together without mashing the meat. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Loosely form each portion into a 3/4-inch-thick burger.

Heat a grill, broiler or sauté pan and cook the hamburgers for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until almost done. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the hamburgers to rest for 5 minutes.

Place a tablespoon or so of Queso Sauce on each bun bottom. Add a couple lettuce leaves, the burger, another couple tablespoons of sauce, a few slices of avocado and the pico de gallo; cover with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Wisconsin Queso Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup diced yellow onions
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 cups Wisconsin Monterey Jack cheese
3 Anaheim or poblano peppers; roasted, peeled and deseeded
1 jalapeño pepper; roasted, peeled and deseeded
Salt and pepper

About 15 minutes before serving, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt. Once melted, add the diced yellow onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn translucent. Add the second tablespoon of butter, allow it to melt and then add the flour. Use a whisk to incorporate the flour into the butter and cook for 1 minute.

Next, add the milk; increase the heat to high; and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese until melted. Finally, add the diced roasted peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Roasting peppers is so easy—use a grill, open flame or your broiler to burn the heck out of the skins—the skins on the peppers should look black and burnt. Next, remove the peppers from the heat and immediately throw them into a plastic zipper bag, allowing them to steam inside the bag for 15 minutes or so.

Finally, take the peppers out of the bag—you will notice the skins are loose and can easily be pulled away from the pepper. Remove all the skin and seeds from inside the pepper, then just slice, dice or chop the pepper any way you wish.

Pico de Gallo
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup diced seeded tomatoes
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 jalapeño, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

No more than 45 minutes before serving, place first 4 ingredients in a bowl; add the desired amount of lime juice, and season with salt and pepper.

For more cheeseburger ideas check out CheeseAndBurger.com.