Homemade French Fries and Ketchup

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Health nuts beware…this is the start of a french fry ‘series’ so you may want to skip a couple of our upcoming posts if you consider french fries to be ‘unhealthy.’ Nathan and I have been wanting to make Poutine (this) and Fish and Chips but we thought that before attempting those dishes we should perfect the basic french fry recipe. French fries aren’t hard to make but there is a science to getting the fries perfectly tender on the inside while attaining a crisp and not-too-greasy exterior. We found that the ‘secret’ is soaking the potatoes, drying the potatoes, frying the potatoes, draining the potatoes, then frying them again at a higher oil temperature. That’s right…double fried! I wouldn’t say that we’re experts now by any means but we’re on our way to perfect fries and we’re ready to graduate to more complex french fry based menus. We paired our fries with homemade ketchup that we whipped up in our crockpot. The texture of our ketchup wasn’t the same as the store bought version since we used fresh onion, garlic, and celery but the taste was spot on and the crockpot slightly redeemed itself with this recipe (yes, I have crockpot issues.) If you think that french fries and ketchup can be part of a healthy, balanced diet try these out!

French Fries-042 Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Natura Sauvignon Blanc, 2012
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.0

What wine should be paired with deep fried potatoes?? In my mind, the wine needs to be the opposite of the fries and should be light, zesty, fruity and tart. This Chilean Sauvignon Blanc perfectly fit the bill. It has flavors of grapefruit, pear and lime and is crisp and tart. This is a great summer wine that would go perfectly with fish, salads, or grilled chicken.


French Fries-040 Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Stella Artois
Rating: 7.0 out of 10.0

Stella Artois is the type of European Pilsner that I typically just don’t like. Very light bodied, light malt flavor that is almost candy sweet, and little to no hop flavors. However, there comes a time in a man’s life when he needs to recognize that even if you don’t typically like the beer by itself, it can taste great with the right meal. Stella was perfect with our homemade french fries precisely because of the things I don’t like! The light body and sweet malt cut right through to the oil, starch, crispy crust and washed everything down beautifully. You won’t see me drinking Stella by itself anytime soon but I would gladly drink a nice Euro pilsner with some fried food again!

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Homemade French Fries:


2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (we used 3 large potatoes)
2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable oil
Kosher salt, to taste


1. Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick sticks. Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak the potato slices for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours. Fit 2 baking sheets with wire racks and set them aside.
2. Place the oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 300°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer.
3. Meanwhile, line a work surface with a clean, lint-free kitchen towel or paper towels. Using tongs or your hands, lift the potato sticks out of the water and shake off any excess liquid. (Do not drain the potatoes in a colander or strainer.) Place the potatoes in a single layer on the towel(s). Pat very dry with additional towels and place the potatoes on one of the wire racks in a single layer (you may have to arrange a few in a double layer).
4. Working with a handful at a time, carefully drop the potatoes into the hot oil with your hands, a slotted spoon, or a spider skimmer and fry until just limp but not browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the potatoes to the second wire rack in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, letting the oil return to 300°F between batches. Let the fries cool to room temperature, at least 10 minutes.
5. Heat the oil to 375°F. Working with a handful at a time, add the partially cooked fries to the oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the fries to the now-empty first wire rack. While still hot, season each batch generously with salt. Repeat with the remaining fries, letting the oil return to 375°F between batches, and serve immediately.

Homemade Ketchup:


1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup white sugar
⅓ cup distilled white vinegar
½ onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons salt
1 stalk celery, chopped
⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
⅛ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 whole clove


1. Pour ground tomatoes into slow cooker. Swirl a little water in the emptied can and pour into slow cooker. Add sugar, vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, celery, mustard powder, black pepper, and whole clove; whisk to combine.
2. Cook on high, uncovered, until mixture is reduced by half and very thick, 8 hours. Stir every hour or so.
3. Smooth the texture of the ketchup using an immersion blender, about 20 seconds.
4. Ladle the ketchup into a fine strainer and press mixture with the back of a ladle to strain out any skins and seeds.
5. Transfer the strained ketchup to a bowl. Cool completely before tasting to adjust salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper.

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