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Recipe: Healthy French Fries

Healthy French Fries (Three Ways)

Organic potatoes and quality animal fat are both very nutritious, and cooking them together is a way to make a delicious and nourishing meal!

Ok so I might be cheating a little bit calling the first two preparations “French Fries,” but the concept is the same, and they taste just as good!

One question you might have is where to get animal fat, like lard or tallow? The quick and easy (but not too cheap) way is to buy it in jars at Whole Foods. If you’re feeding seven people like me then you’re going to want a little bit more for a little bit less money.

Try asking a local farmer who raises pigs or cows if they will sell you some lard (pig fat) or tallow (cow fat). You may be able to buy it ready-to-go, or you might have to render it yourself. That just means that you cut up a slab of animal fat into little pieces and slowly melt it down to separate the fat from all the meat and other tissues. (That’s how you make cracklins by the way.)


Oven Fries

Simple and quick.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Animal fat, about 2 Tbsp per pound of potatoes (like lard, tallow, or even butter!)
  • Salt, pepper, herbs, spices (according to your heart’s desire)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F
  2. Cut your potatoes into equal size pieces. The shape doesn’t matter so much as keeping them all close to the same size so they cook equally. Try to keep them fork size or smaller if you don’t want to need a knife later! If you’re going for the “French Fry” con then cut them like fries, then you won’t even need a fork!
  3. Melt some fat in a small saucepan, or put your fat in a small glass dish and melt in the oven while it’s preheating.
  4. Drizzle the fat over your cut up potatoes. Stir to coat them well. Season with salt and pepper, herbs, or whatever spices you like.
  5. Spread the potatoes out on a baking pan and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, flipping half way through. Keep an eye on them, especially if you cut them small, and take them out when they’re golden brown.

Pan Fries

This one has an extra step, namely parboiling the potatoes to soften them up a little before pan frying.


Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Animal fat, about ¼” in the bottom of your skillet
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Put your potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Boil until just barely soft, to where you can stick a fork in it, but they aren’t falling apart.
  2. Drain the potatoes
  3. Cut up into thin-ish pieces. They can be round and thin, about ¼” to ½”, or just cut into French Fry shape, or even small-ish cubes (about ½” – ¾”).
  4. Heat animal fat in a skillet on medium-high heat. You want it to be pretty hot, but not smoking.
  5. Fry the potatoes one batch at a time, flipping every minute or two to cook all sides. Careful, it’s going to splatter! Add fat to the bottom of the skillet between batches if necessary.
  6. Once they’re golden brown, remove from the skillet. Don’t you dare put them on a paper towel. The fat is healthy, remember? You can mop it up with some bread later.
  7. Season them with salt and pepper while they’re still hot.

BONUS!

You can also fry potato skins the same way. If you’re making mashed potatoes and don’t want the skins in your beautifully fluffy mash, then cut the skins off (after you’ve baked the potatoes) and fry the skins in your skillet. It’s like French fry and a potato chip all in one! And you get heavenly mashed potatoes without throwing away all that nutrition in the skin.


French Fries

Ok y’all this is the real deal. No-compromise French fries. (That's a wonderfully rhyme-y and fun thing to say. Say it slowly. No-com-pro-miiiise French friiiies. Ahhh, yes.)

Is it going to be a lot of work? Yeah, but you’re serious about healthy crispy goodness and you’re going all the way.

Let’s do this.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Animal fat, A LOT. Enough to fill a saucepan (or electric fry-daddy)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut your potatoes into French fry shape.
  2. Soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for an hour or two.
  3. Drain and rinse the potatoes, then dry the really well with a clean kitchen towel.
  4. Heat the animal fat in a pot or fryer on medium heat (about 350°F).
  5. Fry the potatoes in batches for a few minutes, until slightly golden yellow, but not yet golden brown.
  6. Remove the potatoes with a strainer or slotted spoon (try to drain as much of that precious fat back into the pot as you can).
  7. Allow the potatoes to cool on a rack, or chill them in your refrigerator for a while, or better yet, stick them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen.
  8. You can stop right here and save your frozen fries for another day. Or, if you’re like me and can’t wait, then forge on!
  9. Once your potatoes are cooled (or frozen) then heat your animal fat back up on medium-high heat (about 375°F).
  10. Fry in batches again, this time until golden brown.
  11. Remove the potatoes with a strainer or slotted spoon, season with salt and pepper, and eat ‘em while they’re hot!

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