Soaking fries in beer before you bake them removes excess starch and helps them crisp up nicely in the oven. These beer-soaked chili cheese fries are surprisingly healthy!
Ready in 1 hour, 5 minutes
Notice anything new around here? No, I didn’t get a haircut (although, I desperately need one), I got a new website design! After working on it for months and months, I was finally able to launch the brand new look for Wholefully. I’m so excited about it, guys. There were a lot of problems with the previous design both from a technical and a functionality standpoint, and it feels so nice to have a fresh start. I’m still tweaking and adjusting things, so if you see something a little askew, just bear with me as I get it worked out. A big, big, big thanks to my absolutely wonderful host, AcceleratedWP for helping me get everything up and running. Seriously, best guys in the business.
The most important part of the new design? A new recipe index. If you’ve tried to find a recipe on my website anytime in the past year, you know how much of a mess my previous recipe system was. I’m so excited about the new system! And I plan on expanding the functionality even more in the coming weeks to make it super user-friendly to find my recipes. Yay!
I am so thankful for you guys for sticking around while I got this all sorted out. I know that the recipe index was a total, pardon my French, clustercluck for a long time—and you guys stuck with me. I big pink fluffy heart you.
So much so, that I made you some beer-soaked chili cheese fries to thank you.
If you’ve never soaked fries before making them, I highly, highly recommend you try it out. Soaking the fries helps remove extra starch that makes potatoes stick together and lose their crispness—something that is important regardless of your cooking method, but particularly important when you are making oven fries.
Soaking potatoes before you make oven fries is the difference between roasted potatoes and fries. Crisp and crunchy on the outside. Soft and fluffy on the inside. Seriously kids, soak your potatoes.
You don’t even have to use beer, plain ole water works, too (although, c’mon, beer-soaked fries, man). These don’t really taste overwhelmingly-so like beer, but they do have a light beer hint to the taste—I think it’s really nice, because I’m a huge beer fan, but if beer isn’t your cup of tea (pint of brew?) you could definitely just use water and get the same crisp-fry-making results.
You could also experiment with other liquids and see what it does—it’s definitely a nice opportunity for experimentation. I have an idea floating around in my brain for sweet potato fries soaked in apple juice and then seasoned with cinnamon, curry and cayenne pepper. How yum does that sound?
This is one of those recipes that is secretly really good for you. Not like in a hide spinach and black beans in the brownies kinda way, but in a oh wow, when I think about all the elements, nothing is really as bad as I thought it would be kinda way. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill bowling alley chili cheese fries with chili from a can, frozen deep-fried potatoes and blocks of orange processed cheese. All the elements here are made with real, healthy ingredients. Yes, chili cheese fries can be healthy (and still taste good)!
You could serve these for the big game that’s coming up next weekend and all your guests would happily munch on them without complaint—and you’d know you are doing your part to keep your friends and family healthy. That’s a win even if your team isn’t in the game (mine isn’t, womp, womp).
Worth noting, the two big individual elements of this recipe—the chili and the fries—are both incredible on their own. This method for baking fries is my go-to when I’m making non-chili-topped fries. And this speedy chili recipe is a nice way to quickly whip up a small batch of chili without slaving over a stove all day. It’s also the perfect consistency for all your chili-topping needs—coney dogs, baked potatoes, chili mac. Yum!
- 4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed clean, cut into ½" fries
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1–12 ounce beer (recommend: a wheat or pale ale)
- ⅓ cup vegetable, canola, or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1–14 ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles (recommend: Muir Glen Organic)
- 1 cup salsa (recommend: Amy's Organic)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 cup water
- 1–14 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (recommend: Eden Organic BPA Free)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 green onions, sliced
- Place the fries and salt in a large mixing bowl, pour over the beer, and then fill the bowl with water until the fries are completely submerged. Soak in the refrigerator for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Drain the fries, rinse thoroughly, and then pat dry.
- Whisk together the oil, paprika, and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl, add in the fries, and toss to coat. Spread the fries out on a large baking sheet, making sure fries are only in one layer (you may need more than one baking sheet if your potatoes were particularly large).
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway through baking. The fries will be golden brown on the outside, and soft and tender on the inside.
- Meanwhile, begin preparing the chili by browning the ground beef in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until just fragrant and tender, about five minutes.
- Add in the diced tomatoes with chiles, salsa, chili powder, cumin, water, beans, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- To assemble the fries, preheat the broiler. Pile the fries in the middle of a baking sheet, spoon on the chili (you might not need it all), and then sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Top with sliced green onions and serve.
Don't like beer? No worries, water works, too.
If you prefer, you can use melted coconut oil, but the end result will taste a touch sweeter and, well, coconutty!