Universally though, it’s hard to beat the combination of hot chips (fries) and cold beer.
This is by no means a traditional Argentine recipe, although in recent years there has been a considerable surge in craft-beer breweries and bars, and they often serve this dish along with popular ‘para picar’ (nibbles for sharing).
- 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-cm (½ in) thick chips (fries)
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 1 spring onion (scallion), thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) full-cream (whole) milk
- 100 g (3½ oz) coarsely grated cheddar
- 125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) cream cheese at room temperature, diced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: 20 minutes
1. Place the chips in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the chips in the water for 15 minutes, until just tender. Drain well and transfer the chips to a baking tray, spreading them out in an even layer so they aren’t overlapping. Set aside in the fridge until cold.
2. Preheat the oven to 220°C (440°F).
3. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to sizzle, stir through the flour to make a paste. Slowly add the milk and whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened. Add the cheddar and cream cheese and stir over low heat for 4–5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is creamy. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
4. Half-fill a large saucepan with vegetable oil and place over high heat. Lower the end of a chip into the oil; if it sizzles on contact the oil is ready. Carefully add half the chips and fry for 8–10 minutes, until golden. Use a metal slotted spoon or tongs to remove the chips from the hot oil and briefly drain on paper towel. Transfer the chips to a baking tray and repeat with the remaining chips. Transfer all the chips to the oven and bake for 4–5 minutes to ensure they’re hot.
5. To serve, arrange the chips on a plate and spoon the cheese sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the spring onion and enjoy.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99