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Friday, 19 August 2016

Homemade Fries!!!

These homemade fries are second only in tastiness to the lard-fried fries (frites) I've eaten in Belgium.  You'll all be happy to know that the Belgians are actually the ones who invented fries, and it was soldiers who thought they were still in France who named them the French Fries after falling in love with the deliciousness that is double-fried potato sticks.  Fried potatoes truly are a wonderful treat.  We more often than not roast our fries, but we do love the deep-fried ones, too!  My husband rarely requests I experiment with food (I do it readily enough on my own), but his one request was that I come up with some homemade poutine recipes (a Canadian specialty).  Frying up countless batches of excellent fries was our first step.  Poutine recipes to come!  Enjoy!
Homemade french fries, ready for ketchup or poutine toppings! 

Homemade Fries

Slice russet potatoes into small, medium or large size sticks.  I aim for 1 lb/person, but you can do more/less as you prefer.  I tend to err on the side of 'more' since they will reheat nicely in an oven if there are leftovers.  I'm providing a range of cooking times, which you can use according to how thin/fat your fries are sliced.  If you prefer crispier fries, slice them into smaller, thinner sticks.  

Rinse sliced potatoes very thoroughly in a colander under cold water.   You want to really get rid of the starch in the potatoes.  Place rinsed potatoes in a large bowl of cold water until ready to cook.

Preheat frying oil (like Canola) to either 300F or 350F depending on which cooking method (below) you are using.  (The purchase of a small deep fryer has made this a thousand times easier.)

Remove only the handfuls of sliced potatoes you are going to cook.  Lay rinsed fries out on towels or paper towels and thoroughly dry, patting well to remove all liquid before cooking.

There are TWO temperature methods you can try.  Both have worked well for me.  The 1st fry cooks the potato, so you have a soft center.  After cooling, the 2nd fry crisps up the outside of the fries. (There's all sorts of science behind why this works, but it all has to do with the starch properties of the potatoes).   Regardless of which temperature cooking method you employ: You will want to cook batches that do not fill your basket more than 1/2 full.  If you're cooking in a large pot on the stovetop, make sure to use small batches, one or two handfuls at a time to retain the oil temperature.
Fries after the first round of cooking - they might just have a touch of browning happening, but will still be mostly white in color.  The potato is cooked, but it needs the second fry to get the crispy outer edges.

Method 1: 
Preheat oil to 350 F - 355 F.
1st fry: Cook potatoes 3-7 minutes (for ones pictured I used 4-5 minutes - for medium-sized fries).  Shake occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to one another.  Drain on a paper towel-lined tray.   Let cool thoroughly, placing in a refrigerator if you want to speed the process.  You can cool and store in a tupperware to finish cooking up to a day later to prep early.
Keep oil at the same temperature, 350 F - 355 F
2nd fry: Cook pre-fried potatoes 2-6 minutes, or until nicely golden brown.  Shake occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to one another.   Shake off excess oil and then pour onto a paper towel-lined cookie sheet.
Immediately sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt, tossing a little to coat.  Serve and enjoy!

Method 2: 
Preheat oil to 300 F.
1st fry: Cook potatoes 5-10 minutes.  Shake occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to one another.  Drain on a paper towel-lined tray.   Let cool thoroughly, placing in a refrigerator if you want to speed the process.  You can cool and store in a tupperware to finish cooking up to a day later to prep early.
While fries cool, increase oil temperature to 380 F - 390 F.
2nd fry: Cook pre-fried potatoes 2-4 minutes, or until nicely golden brown.  Shake occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to one another.   Shake off excess oil and then pour onto a paper towel-lined cookie sheet.
Immediately sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt, tossing a little to coat.  Serve and enjoy!


Skinny fries, fresh from the oil and ready to eat! 

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