On tonight’s comfort food menu – cheesy potato and herb bake

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Capsicum Culinary Studio, South Africa’s largest chef school, has asked its chef lecturers to come up with some easy dishes, perfect for the whole family during the current lockdown.

Here is an easy potato bake recipe – real comfort food and perfect for those spuds that may need to be used soon:

Cozy cheesy potato and herb bake:

Ingredients:

3 large potatoes, 2g dried or fresh herbs, 10ml oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 6g each of salt and pepper, 100g cheese, 6g smoked paprika.

White sauce:

1l warm milk, 6g each of salt and pepper, 200g flour, 200g butter, 150g finely chopped onion.

Method:
• Preheat oven to 160 C.
• Thinly slice garlic and set aside.
• Cut potatoes into medium sized cubes season, with salt and pepper and then toss into oil with herbs and thinly sliced garlic.
• Once potatoes are fully coated place into baking dish and place into the oven to crisp up.
• Warm up white sauce.
• Remove potatoes once golden in colour and pour over white making sure they are fully coated.
• Grate over cheese until fully covered
• Turn oven up to 200 C and place bake inside, bake for 20-25mins until completely golden and potatoes are soft.
• Top with herbs before serving.

Add left over roast chicken and different vegetables such as butternut, onions or cauliflower to bulk it up and improve the flavour.

White sauce: 

• Add butter to a pot on medium heat and melt (be careful not to burn).
• Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk until fully incorporated cook for about 8 mins if this is not done the sauce texture will be grainy because the flour has not been cooked out.
• Once the flour and butter paste (called a roux) is ready, add in your warm milk into four stages doing consistent whisking so that it mixes well and you get a smooth thick texture.
• Season with salt and pepper add more seasoning if needed to taste.
• Sauce should be done once its thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

A good whisk helps a lot.
Do not let your sauce boil over as it will burn at the base and spilt the sauce.
Add the finely chopped onion with the butter if you are using.
Warming your milk before the time allows the sauce to cook faster and thicken faster.

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