45ml (3 tbsp) cake flour, sifted
500ml (2 cups) milk
95g mature Cheddar, grated + extra, to top
2,5ml (½ tsp) Dijon mustard
Small handful fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
250g streaky bacon, diced
Canola oil, to deep-fry
500g – 1kg thick-cut French fries, frozen
Fine salt, to taste
1. For the cheese sauce, place the butter in a medium pot and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Cook, about 2 minutes, before adding the milk, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens.
2. Once the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon and the taste of flour has cooked out, remove from heat. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to melt the cheese and season to taste. Set aside until needed.
3. For the bacon, heat a pan over medium-high heat and fry the bacon pieces until crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel and set aside until needed.
4. For the fries, in a deep fat fryer or large, deep pot, heat the oil to 180˚C. Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the oil if using a pot. Deep-fry the fries from frozen, until golden brown, about 5 – 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel and season to taste.
5. Serve the fries topped with the warm cheese sauce and a sprinkling of crispy bacon.
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