I have a deep, dark confession to make today…
As I’ve progressed along in my read food journey, I’ve noticed that my taste buds have changed. I’ve gradually lost my cravings for many of my once-loved processed food favorites, and I’m pleased to report that my palette has happily adjusted to fresh ingredients and flavorful whole foods.
There is one “junk food” that I still love just as much as ever.
And not just any french fries– I still adore the ones that come from America’s favorite fast-food chain (you know, the one with the big yellowish arches…)
But those delicious sticks of potato-perfection are fried in a canola/soybean oil blend… And I definitely try to avoid processed vegetable oils…
Thankfully, french fries don’t have to be junk food if you make them with the proper ingredients. Wanna know the secret to perfect fries?
In fact, that certain fast-food chain referenced above used to cook their fries in beef tallow, until they sadly switched to the icky vegetable oils in 1990.
Did you know that, contrary to popular belief, beef tallow is actually a “good” fat? More and more evidence is popping up, showing us that animals fats (like tallow) are actually better for us than modern industrial oil alternatives. Lard is back, baby!
(You can easily render your own tallow at home– check out my beef tallow tutorial for all the details.)
Perfect Homemade French Fries
(Sorry there aren’t more precise measurements– you’ll just have to eyeball this one according to what you have on hand.)
- Potatoes (You can use any kind, but I particularly love using my homegrown Yukon Golds. I usually use 4-5 potatoes for my small family.)
- Cold water (optional)
- Sugar (optional)
- Beef Tallow OR Lard (see my note below for other fat options)
- Sea Salt
Cut the potatoes (peeled or unpeeled– your choice) into sticks or wedges. Keep in mind that the thicker they are, the longer they will take to fry.
Place the potato sticks in a bowl and cover with cold water. Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar into the water and stir to dissolve. Allow the potatoes to soak for anywhere from 1-6 hours. (Don’t worry, the fries won’t end up tasting sweet.)
Once you are ready to fry, place the beef tallow in a deep stockpot (enough for there to be 3-4 inches of liquid fat once it melts) and heat it to approximately 350 degrees.
Remove the potatoes from the sugar-water and pat them dry. (I usually just use a clean kitchen towel to do this, although paper towels work as well.)
Carefully place the potato sticks into the hot oil. Do not fry the entire batch at once– you’ll need to do several, smaller batches for the best result.
It takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes per batch, depending on how crunchy you prefer your fries and how thickly they are cut. (I like softer fries, while my hubby prefers them nice and crunchy.)
Stir them occasionally and watch for them to turn that lovely shade of golden brown. If you aren’t sure if they are ready or not, taste-testing is best way to check. (And it’s also one of the perks of being the cook…)
Once they are finished, remove them from the hot oil and place on a paper-towel lined baking sheet. Generously toss with sea salt and serve immediately.
- If you don’t have lard or tallow, I’ve heard that palm shortening is another healthy fat that is stable at high temperatures (although it won’t have the lovely “beefy” undertone of the tallow….)
- It’s thought that soaking the potatoes in sugar water, (or even just plain cold water), helps the end result to be crispier. (I think it has something to do with the starch.) I’ve had great results using this method, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If you find yourself short on time, just skip that step.
- I’m sure a home-fryer like this one would work for this recipe. However since I don’t have one, I’ve found that a deep stockpot works just as well.
- I also don’t have a frying thermometer, so I just experiment until I find the right temp. I’ll often place one “sacrifice” fry in the oil as it heats up. Once it starts sizzling, I know it’s ready.
- Be careful not to overload the pot– stick with smaller batches. A crowded pot takes forever to fry, and they are more prone to be soggy.
- These do not store well– you’ll have to eat them all right away. (I’m so sorry. )
- I hope you have better self-control than I do, because I usually can’t stop myself from devouring them while I wait for the remaining batches to finish…
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This post was shared at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways
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