Baked Chili Cheese Fries
We’re back in the mix, aren’t we.
Back from vacation. Back to school. Back rifling through the closet for our cowl neck sweaters. Back contemplating hot tea and where the pumpkin comes from in pumpkin lattes.
I love Fall. I’m totally in to win. Most Fall nights I just want to appreciate the comforts of a big grey sweater and two fingers of fine bourbon (who says that!?… I do). The only trouble is that I go into Fall kicking and screaming…. like the jerky-est five-year old you’ve ever met… that’s me. The fact is, I’m being crispy for no reason. Crispy in attitude… and no one likes that.
I thought I’d transfer my crisp demeanor to the oven. It’s time for fries, like major.
These Baked Chili Cheese Fries are one of my favorite recipes in the Joy the Baker Cookbook. Yea… I bake from my own book because I’m weird, and sometimes I just really need fries from the oven.
There’s a trick to these baked fries. They’re coated in all the flavorings of chili, but not actually coated in a spoonful of chili.
It’s a food illusion. Less soggy. More crisp. No fork necessary.
Chili spices include: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and a spicy ancho chili powder (for kicks).
Rustically peeled potatoes. For looks and laziness.
Cutting potatoes into French Fries always feels fancy to me.
It the geometry confuses you (because it totally did me)… here’s a more detailed description of how to slice the fry.
Sliced raw potatoes are coated in olive oil and Worcestershire sauce then tossed with an all-purpose grill seasoning mix. I used a pre-packed dry rub barbecue seasoning.
Time for layer number two! Cornstarch and chili seasonings.
Layers are working hard.
These are ready for the oven. I’ve already called dibs on the spicy number in the lower left corner.
Once the fries are cooked through and spiced, let’s add cheese and melt.
Chopped scallions are added for just a touch of onion flavor and green color.
These Bake Chili Cheese Fries have all of the glory without any of the complication. They’re spicy and crisp… with just the right amount of soggy bites. Add more cheese or less according to your preference. Add beer or ginger ale according to your preference. Share with people watching football according to your sharing preferences. These are crowd pleasing, to be sure.
Baked Chili Cheese Fries
serves 3 people (about 1 potato per person)
adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
3 russet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons grill seasoning or dry barbecue rub (these often include salt)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, and ancho chili powder. Set aside.
Rinse potatoes and peel with a vegetable peeler. You can leave some skin bits on the potatoes if you want to go for a more rustic fry. Using a sharp knife, slice a 1/4-inch piece off the potato lengthwise. This will give you a stable base to slice on. Rest the potato, cut side down, and slice potato into 1/4 to 3/8-inch planks.
Stack planks in piles 2 to 3 planks high, and slice lengthwise into 1/4 to 3/8-inch strips. And… you just cut French fries!!
In a medium bowl, toss the potato strips with olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and grill seasoning or dry barbecue rub. Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the potato slices and use tongs to toss together, making sure that every potato is coated with a bit of cornstarch and seasoning.
Spread potatoes in a single layer across the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the potatoes from the oven 2 or 3 times during baking to toss them together. Cook until potatoes are cooked through and brought to your desired crispiness. Remove from the oven, top with cheese and return to the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese. Remove and place onto a platter. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.