Time to pay homage to the greasy, gloppy goodness that is this web sites namesake. Chili cheese fries. Born of fast food and street food vendors, chili cheese fries is one of America's favorite guilty pleasures. On the surface this dish sounds simple enough. Right? You take some fries add chili and top with cheese. Well it can be that simple but there a so many great variations to consider. We will highlight two of my favorite versions and outline some other variations but before we do we need to note a few things about the key ingredient. The fries.
There is a bit of a trick when frying French fries to ensure they are cooked tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, not overtly greasy and seasoned well. Below are a few key tips to help you turn out great fries. As for the chili and cheese, well you can take a creative license with those. In fact the whole term chili cheese fries and is pretty forgiving.
So sit back and relax as we journey through awesomeville on our "Great Chili Cheese Fries Adventure", sub titled "Carbs Anyone?"
THE FRENCH FRIES
- Use only Idaho or Russets potatoes
- Cut them into 1/2 inch X 1/2 inch X 4 inches
- Soak them in salted ice cold water for 20 minutes. Dry them completely with paper towels (This step removes the starch which helps them to crisp)
- Use a heavy bottomed pot or deep fryer
- Fry in small batches in peanut oil at 275° until just about done.
- Fry again in small batches in the same oil at 375° until brown and crispy
- Strain in a bakers rack situated over paper towels and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Oh and never bake fries. That would be an oxymoron.
OLD SCHOOL CHILI CHEESE FRIES
For old school chili cheese fries we need a chili sauce rather than say chili con carne. Think Coney Island hot dog chili. Thin, less chunky more sauce than stew. It's more of a condiment. And for the cheese we use finely fresh grated mild cheddar.
- 2 pounds ground beef (80/20, ground three times)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 hot dogs
- 2 cups water
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon beef base or 1 beef beef bouillon cube
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons mild chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons medium hot chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
- a plate full of fries
1. Saute the ground beef in a skillet until browned. Add minced garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
2. In a food processor, add hot dogs, water, tomato paste, beef base, mustard, mild chili powder, medium hot chili powder, ground cumin, and onion powder. Then process until hot dogs in mixture are ground into a paste.
3 .Add ground hot dog mixture to browned beef in skillet. Simmer covered on low heat for 20-minutes. Add a little more water if needed if mixture gets too thick. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Stir in butter.
4. Fries on plate, ladle on chili, top with cheese.
NOT SO LOW FAT, LOW FAT CHILI CHEESE FRIES
In this variation we use low fat turkey chili. Healthy right? But then we drench the whole dish with Velveeta Cheese.
- a plate of fries
- 1 1/3 cups of Drea's Quick Turkey Chili found here
- 1/2 cup Rotel tomatoes with jalapenos, drained
- 1 block Velveeta cheese cut into small cubes.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the cheese and then add the tomatoes stirring frequently. There a mild, medium and hot versions of Rotel tomatoes so pick your poison. Next.. well you probably know the drill by now.
Poutine: The original cheese fries. Thin beef gravy and cheese curds over and underneath the fries. Oh Canada.
Disco Fries: Heavy brown gravy with mozzarella melted over fries. A.K.A Jersey Fries. Hey fagettaboutit.
Frito Pie: Frito chips replace fries, add chili and cheese. Oh the good old days.
Philly Cheese Fries: Fries, provolone cheese, thin slices of rib-eye steak and topped with grilled onions.
Carne Asada Fries: Substitute strips of marinated grille skirt steak for the chili. Add Oaxaca cheese.
Animal Style Fries: Fries, Thousand Island, cheese & grilled onions. OK.
Taco Fries: Pretty much browned taco seasoned ground beef and all the usual taco fixin's on a bed of fries.
Chili Cheese Rings: Onions rings instead of fries. Then chili. Then cheese.
CCF Sanchez: A ChiliCheeseFries.net creation of fries topped with black bean and chorizo chili, cotija cheese, Mexican creama, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos. A complete dedicated post on this forth coming.
More to Come!
Check back often as we will add more variations and recipes as we come across them.