Thursday, July 13, 2017

Recipe: Baked Garlic Fries with Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

Okay, so before I launch into this fun throwback-but-new-to-the-blog-itself recipe, I wanted to let you know that I have FINALLY found another flash card. *cue applause* I’ll make another batch of the Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice soon, and put up proper pretty photos of it in place of the sad phone ones. I’ll have the full Hearty Bowl post up by next week, too. Thanks for your patience! J

Today is National French Fry Day, and my first thought was, OHMYFULLONGOD, I HAVE TO SHARE THE GARLIC FRIES ON INSTAGRAM TODAY. (I shout a lot in my internal monologue, lol.) Then I realized that this is one of the few special recipes that never actually made it onto the blog, so sharing it would actually require posting it here first. So here I am, doing that.



This recipe was originally featured in my Parade Magazine column back in 2013. I don’t recall making it specifically for this food holiday, or if I just had a hankering for garlic fries, but whatever the case, I’m a big fan of this recipe. One of my favorite things to eat at a fair, baseball game, etc., is a big serving of garlic fries, the more chunks of fresh garlic on ‘em, the better.

But as much as I love all that gahhhhlic, I also love dipping fries in stuff. Fries should just be dipped, and that goes for garlic fries, too. Even though I’ve dipped garlic fries in ketchup (yeah, yeah, I know), I’ve never felt that that’s the right dip for garlic fries. Being rather savory, they need a sweeter dipping sauce for a better balance. And that’s why sweet chili sauce is perfect.

Now, you can always get the store bought kind and skip a few steps when making this. But the reason I made my own is because I often find myself with a hankering for a specific bottled condiment, but that condiment is nowhere to be found in my kitchen. If I can find the ingredients to get close to what my craving is (or sometimes, even better), then I just go for it and make the “cheater” kind. My version isn’t 100% authentic, but it comes pretty close and is just as tasty.

That’s about it for this one! How do you like your French fries? Plain? With a dipping sauce? Loaded with a mountain of deliciousness? Tell me in the comments below!

Baked Garlic Fries with Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce (makes 6 servings; total cost per serving: ~ $1)

Ingredients:

For the Garlic Fries
2 lbs russet potatoes
2 tsp light cooking oil, (canola, etc.)
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro or flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
For the Sweet Chili Sauce
½ cup sugar
½ cup rice or white vinegar
½ cup water
1 Tbsp dried crushed chilies
2-3 Tbsp fish sauce or light soy sauce
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp water

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Peel and cut the potatoes into fries about ¼" - ½" thick. Toss lightly with the oil, sprinkle with a small amount of salt and pepper. Place the fries on the prepared baking sheet in a single, even layer. (Hint: For the crispiest fries, place a rack on the baking sheet and put the fries on the rack; the heat will circulate on all sides of the fries and prevent the "soggy side" that happens so much with baked fries.) Bake for about 15-20 minutes.

3. While the fries are baking, prepare the sweet chili sauce by combining the sugar, vinegar, water, fish sauce, garlic and chilies in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer until the mixture is reduced by half (about 10 minutes).

4. Combine the cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of water to form a quick slurry. Reduce heat to medium low and slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry, whisking constantly to prevent any sticking. Continue to stir for about 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Carefully check for flavor: you should have a nice balance between sweet, sour and spicy. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Check the fries for color and give them a quick toss with a pair of tongs, to ensure all sides are cooked evenly. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden on the outside and tender on the inside.

6. When fries are finished baking, remove from rack or pan with a metal spatula. Toss together with the garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper. Serve immediately with a bowl of sweet chili sauce for dipping, and enjoy!


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