Nacho cheese dip. Probably one of the best party dips out there when done right, and one of the best in the UK is from Odeon Cinemas. I mean, who else goes there not for the iMax but for the Nacho Cheese?
So we were shopping in the supermarket one evening and fancied some salted tortilla crisps (or chips for everyone outside of the UK) with a dip. UK supermarkets often do a Tex-Mex triple dip with Salsa, questionable Guacamole and Nacho Cheese. We looked a this trio of dips and only wanted the Nacho cheese. We searched for a single nacho cheese dip but to no avail. So instead, we decided we’d just make one that evening. We make a crazy good cheese sauce in our Sun-dried Tomato Mac and Cheese recipe so we had a good base to start from. But we wanted to make one similar or better than the one at Odeon. Tough challenge. It actually turns out they have a recipe here. But we thought we could do one better.
Presenting the Fork and Twist Nacho Cheese dip. The ultimate Cheese dip.
What makes a cheese sauce Nacho Cheese Sauce?
Quite simply Jalapeños. Or in our case, Jalapeño pickling juice – stay with us.
The Jalapeño juice adds that vinegary tang needed in a cheese sauce to cut through the rich and creamy cheese. The juice is better than using diced or mince Jalapeños as they just add too much heat, which we’re trying to avoid. We want a warming sensation but nothing more.
Another element of a Nacho Cheese sauce has to be the use of “plastic cheese”. Forget refinement, American cheese singles are one of those ingredients that just makes the sauce better. Couple it with bright orange Red Leicester and you have yourself the perfectly cheesy combination producing the perfect colour too.
How do I make a cheese sauce?
To make a cheese sauce you start by making a Roux, which is equal parts butter, flour and milk (30g butter = 300ml milk etc…). Whisk these up in the order of butter, flour and the milk on a medium heat and you will have a delightfully smooth and creamy white sauce. This is also the base for a Bechemel found in Lasagne. A recipe for another day.
Once you have the creamy smooth white sauce you can add your cheese. For blocks of cheese it is best to grate finely so it melts easier and quicker. For sliced cheese it’s best to rip into small pieces so it can melt quicker. You can use the whisk to stir the sauce to melt the cheese faster.
After that you have the base of a cheese sauce. From here you can add anything you like, such as Mustard, Worcestershire sauce or even beer. For the Nacho Cheese sauce though, we add the Jalapeño pickle juice.
Video coming soon on how to make our exact recipe step by step!
Prepare to be whisked away to the Cinema!
Nacho Cheese Dip Cinema Style
- Large Sauce Pan
- 30 g Plain white flour
- 30 g Unsalted butter
- 300 ml Full fat milk use gold top for best results
- 100 g Finely grated Red Leicester Cheese
- 5 Slices American Cheese Singles avoid light slices
- 10 g Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- 4 tbsp Jalapeño pickle juice
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Weigh flour and butter. Measure milk.
- Grate cheese, and open cheese sinlges from the plastic and ear into small pieces.
- Measure out the pickle juice.
Cooking the Sauce
- Get a saucepan on a medium heat and let come to temp for 30 seconds
- Add the butter and let it melt, but be careful the pan is not too hot. We don't want brown butter.
- Add the flour to the melted butter and whisk together to form a liquidy paste. Let this cook and bubble for a minute or so.
- Turn down the heat slightly to a medium low. Begin adding the milk in intervals. About 4 intervals should do it. Start small and work your way up. Whisk the milk into the flour paste carefully but thoroughly. Ensure no lumps before moving to the next milk interval. Repeat these steps whisking constantly until no milk is left.
- Turn the heat up to medium and allow the white sauce to start bubbling. Ensure you whisk the sauce often to prevent it catching on the bottom. The heat should not be too high. If you feel it catching remove from the heat and whisk well. Turn the heat down slightly and return back to the heat. If it has caught too much and is now lump, it can be saved with a liquidiser. Liquidise until no lumps are left.
- Once the sauce has bubble for about 1-2 minutes take off the heat.
- Add the Red Leicester, parmesan and the american singles and whisk until fully combined.
- Add the Jalapeño pickle juice and stir well.
- Pour into a large dipping bowl and serve with salted Tortilla Chips/Crisps.
- Prepare all the ingredients first. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
- Make sure the white sauce is completely smooth before adding cheese.
- Simmer the sauce for at least 1-2 minutes to cook out the floury taste of the white sauce. It's very important this is done. It's also important to cook the flour/butter paste for at least a minute to aide the smoothness of the sauce.
- Do not have the heat too high or the sauce will catch on the bottom of the pan. By catching we mean it sticks to the bottom of the pan and causes the sauce to become lumpy.
- Grate the cheeses finely to help the meeting process. A thicker grate would take longer to melt. It's not crucial, but it does save some time and effort.
- Don't be afraid of the pickle juice. It's key to getting the cheese sauce to a "Nacho Cheese" state.