Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chili Cheese Fries

So, I feel like I need to defend this recipe (which I don't really, but....).  This one has brought cynical laughter from some (as if I serve junk food to my family for dinner), but it has also brought about some anticipation from others ("You can invite me over for dinner anytime when you serve this!").  Personally, I love this meal.  My family loves this meal.  When done the right way, it is no less healthy or any more unhealthy than any other comparable meal.  So, if you choose to partake, just sit back and enjoy it.  You will have made it all from scratch, no frying or processed foods involved.  Refuse the guilt.   :)  (A nice, simple side salad completes this meal).

Chili Cheese Fries (dinner-sized!)
Adapted from Rachael Ray

4 large potatoes (I personally like Yukon gold potatoes)
2 tbl. olive oil

For the chili:
1 tbl. olive oil
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, ribbed, seeded, and chopped fine
2 tbl. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbl. tomato paste
a couple dashes of hot sauce, to taste
2 tbl. worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth

For cheese sauce:
3 tbl. butter
3 tbl. flour (or cornstarch if going gluten-free)
1 tbl. yellow mustard
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  To make fries:  cut potato in half lengthwise.  Each half, cut in half lengthwise again.  Lay flat, and cut long slices (they will look like french fries!).  Repeat with remaining potatoes.  Lay in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle generously with olive oil, toss to coat, and season with salt.  Transfer baking sheet to oven and roast, until crispy and golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Check halfway through, and turn once.  Often, I will set my oven on Low Broil at the very end of the baking time to finish crisping them up. 

While potatoes are roasting, prepare the chili.  Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil.  Add the meat and brown, about 6-7 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Once cooked, push meat to one side of the pan.  Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, and cumin to the pan.  Cook until the veggies soften, 5-6 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for about 1 minute, until it smells sweet and has caramelized slightly.  Add the hot sauce, worchestershire, and beef broth.  Bring everything up to a bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer until chili is thickened, about 10 minutes.

While chili is simmering, prepare the cheese sauce.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the flour into the butter, combine, and cook until bubbly, about 1 minute.  Stir in the mustard, then whisk in the milk and chicken broth.  Continue whisking until the sauce has thickened, then off the heat.  Stir in the cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper if desired (I usually don't).

To Serve:
Divide the fries between the number of servings you have, and top them with the chili, then the cheese sauce.


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