Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce – Sure it’s Harder, But at Least it’s More Expensive!

Unlike most of the videos I post, this nacho cheese sauce recipe is not cheaper and easier to make at home. In fact, you could probably get a gallon of that industrial strength lubricant that passes for cheese sauce at the grocery store for the same cost as a single batch of this, but what you lose in cost and quantity, you more than make up for in actual food content.

I’m not really that militant about insisting people read nutritional labels. I mean, who has the time? But just for fun, the next time you’re in the processed foods aisle (if those are still legal where you live) check out the back of a nacho cheese sauce. Pretty frightening.

However, while we’re going to use real, honest-to-goodness cheese in this, we still want to mimic some of the other more desirable characteristics of that day-glow yellow cheese syrup they pump on your chips at the movies.

We want the same thin, slightly runny viscosity, so that the sauce seeps down and around all the chips on your plate. It’s a total rookie mistake to make a nacho cheese sauce too thick, since as soon as it hits the chips it tightens up considerably, and you end up with a lump of cheese, and some serious sauce-to-chip ratio issues. Even at room temp, this sauce remains fairly fluid.

As you’ll see, I used Jack, Muenster, and white cheddar cheese for mine, which gave me a pale, yet pleasantly-colored sauce, but if you want something a little “brighter,” then go with the classic orange cheddar instead. Contrary to popular believe, orange cheese is not artificially colored, and uses annatto seed to produce that iconic hue.

Anyway, if you planning on having a nacho cheese sauce involved in your Super Bowl party plans, and you really should, I hope you give this a try. By the way, I’ll show you how to do some quick-pickled jalapeno rings in a video Friday, so stay tuned for that. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes about 5 cups of sauce):
1/4 cup melted butter
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
3 cups cold milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/4 lb Muenster cheese, grated

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