I love nachos. Anytime, anyplace, anywhere….I love ‘em. I like the orangey fake cheese sauce, grated cheese, topped with chili, topped with jalapenos, you name it….I’ll eat it. My kids are huge fans of nachos too. But really, who isn’t?
When I make nachos at home, I like to make my own cheese sauce. But I like to make it with freshly grated cheese, not cheese product. Like I said above, I like a good processed cheese, but nachos with freshly grated cheese sauce is oh so good, and obviously better for you. And a cheese sauce is so easy to make. It uses three ingredients and it is quick! Let me walk you through it.
I start with eight ounces of freshly grated cheddar cheese. You can use whatever flavor cheese you like, as long as it is a good melting cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, jack or Fontina. But you must grate it yourself. This is very important. The bags of grated cheese sometimes have added stabilizers that will not work in this recipe.
I mix my grated cheese with one tablespoon of corn starch in a small sauce pan that is not on the heat yet. Once the cheese has been tossed with the corn starch, I stir in a twelve ounce can of evaporated milk and turn the heat on medium low-ish.
The mixture needs to get whisked continuously for about five minutes now over medium heat. At first nothing will happen, and you will think I’m crazy. Then, the cheese will start to melt but the mixture will get very stringy, and you will for sure think I’ve lost my mind. Hang in there. Finally, after you have cursed my name and decided I shouldn’t ever be allowed to cook….the sauce will come together. It will thicken and melt into a beautiful, silky cheese sauce. You will apologize for all the nasty things you’ve said about me. You just have to be patient!
This sauce is good for nachos, of course, but it is also great over veggies, as a dip for French fries, or straight out of the pot if you are like me.
If you serving adults, and looking for something a bit more fancy pants….I’ve got a version of “grown-up” nachos that you have to try. These nachos are made with sweet potato chips, topped with a Gruyere and blue cheese sauce, and then drizzled with a balsamic reduction that is too die for. You may have had a similar version at the Cadillac Ranch that used to be at Legends in Sparks. I used to be addicted to their version of this and I knew I had to replicate it.
I make this cheese sauce this same way. I start with four ounces of freshly grated Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a nutty cheese that is similar to Swiss cheese. It is available virtually everywhere. I mix the Gruyere with four ounces of crumbled blue cheese. I stir my tablespoon of corn starch in and add a can of evaporated milk just like my basic version. Same process now….stirring and waiting.
While the cheese sauce cooks, I also reduce balsamic vinegar on the stovetop until it is thick and syrupy. Open the windows for this….your family might not appreciate the smell, even if they are vinegar lovers.
This cheese sauce gets poured over a layer of sweet potato chips, but thick ruffled potato chips are great with this too. I drizzle the whole thing with my balsamic syrup, and I also sprinkle more blue cheese over the top. Heaven on a plate. A very large plate. The adults in your life will thank you for this.
Huge news on the Gourmet Rooster front…..my products are now available at all Scolari’s and Sak and Save stores. Stop by and get some!
Basic Cheese Sauce
8 ounces freshly grated cheese, such as cheddar or Jack
1 tablespoon corn starch
12 ounces evaporated milk (one can)
Toss cheese with corn starch. Add to small sauce pan. Whisk in evaporated milk and heat over medium, stirring frequently.
Cook over medium heat for at least 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened and cheese has melted.
Makes 2 cups
Gruyere and Blue Cheese Nachos
4 ounces freshly grated Gruyere Cheese
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch
12 ounces evaporated milk
½ cup balsamic vinegar
6 ounce bag Sweet Potato Chips (Terra brand)
Toss Gruyere and 4 ounces blue cheese with corn starch. Add to small sauce pan. Whisk in evaporated milk and heat over medium, stirring frequently.
Cook over medium heat for at least 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened and cheeses have melted.
For balsamic reduction:
Heat vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium/high heat. Boil until vinegar has reduced by half, about 3 minutes at a full boil.
Layer potato chips on a large plate. Top with cheese sauce, remaining blue cheese and balsamic reduction.