El Cafe Cocimiento Sauce

Another day, another request for an El Cafe recipe. Cocimiento sauce was one of the most popular sauces at El Cafe, and I haven’t been as successful at recreating it as the other recipes. But if you simply MUST have this sauce, I’ve created a pretty good approximation of it that tastes excellent if you eat it right away (and who wouldn’t?). This recipe makes four VERY generous servings. The quantities are approximate (I just eyeball it), so you can adjust it for whatever the size of your group is.

1.5 pounds grated cheese (half cheddar, half Monterey Jack)
1 pound of sour cream
2-3 fresh jalapeno peppers
3-4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the jalapenos into a fine dice (remove the seeds unless you like it scorching hot). Melt all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat (I use an electric fondue pot, which works great — set it at about 225 degrees), stirring frequently. Then, as I said, you want to serve this immediately — otherwise the oils will start to separate out from the cheese and you’ll have a real mess. It works well as an enchilada sauce, or as John suggested, over home-fried potatoes.

One of the most popular ways to serve it at El Cafe was over half a roasted acorn squash that had been stuffed to overflowing with diced chicken, walnuts, and raisins. Lately we’ve been substituting steamed broccoli for the chicken, for a vegetarian treat.

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2 Responses to El Cafe Cocimiento Sauce

  1. Claudette says:


    You have no idea how many years I’ve been searching for the Cocimiento Chicken recipe. I’ve looked through every Mexican cookbook (hello, Dianne Kennedy, how could you leave it out???) and googled it every few years.

    HALELUJAH!!!! You are my hero. I lived right down the street from El Cafe (on Roosevelt Way). Many was the night that I dined on Cocimiento Chicken, crossed the street and visited the salt water aquariums at the store across the street, and blissfully made my way home.

    Thank you Dave. You’ve answered my prayers.

  2. Patty says:

    i have been doing the same but never figured out the cumin; i am making some yogurt/cheddar half assed version tonight and de cided to google it and who knew anyone else on the globe remembered El CAfe

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