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May 22, 2012 03:12 PM

Kosher Mexican Cheese?

NY/NJ/PA area. I'm looking for the traditional Mexican cheese - the kind of cheese that works well in quesadillas, chile rellenos and cheese enchiladas. The usual run of the mill cheddar, muenster, mozarella, etc. just doesn't seem to do the trick everything ends up tasting like pizza.

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  1. Sugar River makes a couple of flavored cheddars that would work, the Chipotle is the first that comes to mind. I grew up on the border with Mexico and to this day chile rellenos are my favorite dairy dish....hands down. Try a mixture of pepper jack and goat cheese cut with 25% spanish rice for your rellenos. The rice helps the chile keep it's form while frying and the goat cheese will totally transform your hot stuffed chile into something magical. The added creaminess also acts as a perfect counterbalance if you are dealing with spicy chile peppers or a very spicy red or green sauce. As for your enchiladas, a duo of aged cheddar (check out cabbot at costco now OU) and pepper jack from Natural Kosher (OK & Chalav Yisroel) as good starting points. Costco is selling a "Mexican Mix" consisting of cheddar, jack and's a 3lb bag and great value. Have you tried using the fake meat with your red enchilada or fake chicken with a green version? With the right sauce it's pretty darn close to the real thing.

    Que tengan un gran Sabado y la celebración de Shavuot edificante. Vaya con Dios y cocinar algo mágico!

    3 Replies
    1. re: gotcholent

      Is Cabbot cheese with an OU available at Costco now? If so, what location have you purchased it? Do any other versions of Cabbot cheese have an OU? I thought it was only available at passover or by mail order?

      1. re: seikoloco

        It's available at passover, but they have started to do a larger run then which then will last through most of the year. I've seen at stores with large kosher cheese selections.

      2. re: gotcholent

        Soy chorizo always works well in these recipes. Great spicing.

      3. There is plenty of monteray jack available, have you tried that?

        1 Reply
        1. re: PotatoPuff

          Are you looking for a queso blanco or more of a jack?

        2. Thanks for all the tips! I'm really a relative novice when it comes to Mexican cooking. Thus far I have only been able to somewhat perfect a cheese enchilada casserole and of course, cheese enchiladas themselves. I find that if you add some cocoa powder, chili powder and cumin to the commercial kosher enchilada sauce ( La Victoria is the only one I could find), it works rather well. The Monterey Jack cheese is rather pedestrian to my buds. I wonder if there is a kosher source for refried beans. The "real" Mexican cheese actually used to be illegal in the US - something to do with using petroleum products in the processing. I once defended some 30+ years ago a Mexican cheese smuggler caught with huge "wheels" of Mexican cheese secreted (obviously not too effectively or he wouldn't have been caught) within his truck at the port of entry in Tijuana. The Government claimed the cheese could have been fatal if consumed.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Arinoam

            Mexican cheeses tend to be very mild and borderline tasteless, so not sure what you're looking for.

            1. re: DeisCane

              Yeah. Sounds like OP is going more of a Tex-Mex route, I think what he/she needs is a good sharp cheddar to mix with some of the jack cheese. Is the OU Cabot sharp?

              1. re: barryg

                There is an extra sharp of the OU Cabot.

                1. re: DeisCane

                  OP should try doing a 50/50 blend of the extra sharp Cabot with with regular Monterey Jack.

            2. re: Arinoam

              I know Eden makes refried beans with a hechsher, and I've seen other brands as well.

              1. re: Arinoam

                Homemade refried beans are extremely easy to make, just put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add a can of beans (drained, with the liquid reserved), pinto or black beans work best. Then mash the beans (either roughly with a fork or with a potato masher) while you're cooking and add some liquid if it gets too thick. 10-15 minutes on the stove should do it. You can also saute chopped onions in the oil before adding the beans.

                1. re: Arinoam

                  Whole Foods carries a brand of refried beansin one of those boxes they use for ready made soups. The brand is "Fig". They also carry the Eden brand. I've used both although not side by side. I think they all need a little doctoring up.

                  1. re: Arinoam

                    If you're near a Wegman's, they carry a line of kosher refried beans (star-k), Casa Fiesta brand. They have a number of different kinds - regular, nonfat, spicy, black bean, etc.

                    I've never seen these anywhere else in my area, but I imagine this brand must be carried in other stores somewhere as well.

                    1. re: hbg1

                      oddly i often see the casa fiesta stuff at family dollars and other food carrying dollar stores

                  2. You can make your own queso blanco with nothing more than milk, vinegar and a good thermometer. It's really easy - instructions available in this month's Bitayavon magazine, or with a simple Google search.