Introduction: Diner-Style Chili Cheese Fries (Johnny Rockets Copy Cat)
Remember meeting friends after school at the diner? The flip board jukebox..the young waitresses on skates..the creamy yet inexplicably thick shakes. Take a bit of that nostalgia home by making your very own chili cheese fries. They're perfect for the big football game, for the kids to devour after school, or (my personal favorite) a guilty pleasure dinner.
Step 1: Brown the Meat
We're gonna start these chili fries by (you guessed it!) making the chili.
Begin by browning the meat over medium-high heat. I use the ominous roll meat because #1 we're cheap #2 the high fat content turns into high flavor. If youre gonna have a cheat meal; HAVE A CHEAT MEAL.
A lot goes into mouth watering bean less chili topping. Luckily, we can break most of it down to a few basic spices. Grab up a bowl and a whisk, and make you up some chili seasoning while the beef cooks.
(Tip: make a large amount, keep it in a mason jar. You can even replace the lid with the top of a salt pourer for easy measuring!)
1/4 C all purpose white flower
1 T chili powder
4 t crushed red pepper
1 T dried onion
2 t garlic powder
2 t cumin
2 t parsley
1 t salt
Step 2: Turn the Meat and Assemble the Chili
By this time, your meat should be looking like picture #2 from the previous slide. Go ahead and flip it over to cook and get crispy brown on the other side.
While that is finishing up, mince 2 cloves garlic and toss them in to finish cooking with the beef. We want the beef to be well done so it has some "bite" to it, but not blackened. Once it looks like the photo above, remove from heat and drain.
This is when things start to come together! We're gonna pour in a 15 oz can of tomato sauce, the chili seasoning we mixed up, and salt & pepper to taste. Keep in mind this is still reducing, so be careful not to add too much salt at this point!
Once that is all well combined, the mixture should be looking somewhat dry. To thin everything out and add flavor, we are going to be adding beef broth in 1/2 C intervals and allowing it to reduce as we prepare and fry our potatoes.
Step 3: Cut and Soak the Taters!
Now that our chili is simmering and developing all that great flavor, we can start cutting our potatoes. If you struggle to cut potatoes, check out the photos for a guide of where to cut. The easiest way I've found is to first create a flat surface so you don't have to balance the potato. So I chop off an end to lay it flat (to avoid food waste, you can still cut these ends up into fries!)
Once you have your fries cut, you want to soak them in cold water for at least 30 mins to rinse off as much starch as we can.
Step 4: Fry Those Fries!
Rinse the cut Taters one last time and drain them. You can start heating your oil while they drain dry, then pat with a paper towel just before dropping them in the oil.
For this first fry, we're just going for cooked. We don't necessarily need the crunch this go-around. Fry them in small batches for even cooking, and remove to drain. Once all your fries are done...start again! The second time they cook should yield a crispy golden result.
Remove to drain and season with coarse ground salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 5: Load Up Your Plate
Everything is cooked and we just need to assemble.
The cheese is going to melt and be the glue that holds this masterpiece together. Pile your plate high with hot fries, and sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese. Top with chili, more cheese, and finish it off with finely diced onions.
Now sit back and take a gander at that beautiful mountain of carbs and fat, & dig in!