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The first four Aerosmith albums are all classic ’70s bar-band rock. Sleazy, testosterone anthems with a screeching Steven Tyler and the bluesy guitar of Joe Perry. It was the perfect soundtrack to high school years spent sneaking beers, smoking weed, driving a Camaro, wearing too much polyester, and believing yourself cooler than you actually were. It was the soundtrack to a certain time and likely the reason post-’70s Aerosmith sucks. I remain a major fan of those first four albums, but Aerosmith was dead to me after Rocks.
I have been an Aerosmith fan for almost four decades. I have been making Chili Cheese Fries professionally for about a decade. That I have never put this song together with a fries menu item actually makes me a bit ashamed. It would also be a great name for a chicken thigh sandwich.
This came about due to leftover seitan chili. Cherie (of We Can Tour That fame) made the incredibly solid suggestion of loaded fries, and I enthusiastically agreed. I originally made this recipe with some frozen oven fries which was less than stellar. Sure, it kind of works, but let’s face it if you’re going to make fries, then MAKE FRIES! That means you’re hauling out a deep pot, heating up a bunch of oil, and deep-frying at home. Anything else will just be underwhelming.
You’ll also need to make a cheese sauce. Sure, you could just throw a bit of shredded cheese on top and let the fries and chili melt it, but that’s not going to get you the true messy bar-style comfort dish you crave. At it’s simplest, melt some American cheese with a bit of condensed milk to get an ok but decidedly “MEH’ sauce. I figure, if you’ve already got chili, you might as well make queso. The queso recipe here is pretty damn simple, marvelously decadent, and makes enough for a batch of nachos the next day.
Beyond cheese and chili, the choice of toppings is fairly endless. I kept this particular version traditional with just a sprinkle of scallions for topping. I do find there is a law of diminishing returns on toppings. These are loaded FRIES and fries should be front and center.
Then again, the choice is yours.
LORD OF THE FRIES
twice-fried fries, seitan chili, queso, scallions, & Aleppo pepper
Makes 2 servings
Twice-fried chips (see recipe below)
Queso (see recipe below)
2 cups of leftover Their Seitanic Majesties Request Chili
2 scallions, sliced
Aleppo pepper flakes
Before starting the fries, make the queso and reheat the chili.
Loaded fries are all about layering. Start with a good fry base. Add a bit of chili then drizzle on the cheese sauce. Add a bit more chili and a touch more cheese sauce. Finally, sprinkle scallions and Aleppo pepper on top.
Eating with a fork is highly recommended.
3 medium russet potatoes
Scrub the potatoes well, then cut into 1/4″ thick batons. Dry thoroughly with paper towels and leave them sitting on paper towels to allow the surface of the potatoes to dry out for about 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you’re pressed for time, but your potatoes won’t turn out as crisp.
Add 1 1/2″ of vegetable oil to a heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 330°F. Line a 2 wire racks with 2 layers of paper towels each.
Fry the potatoes in batches until a light tan color and the edges are just starting to brown. Transfer the fried chips to one prepared rack to drain.
When all of the potatoes have been fried once, increase the heat of the oil to 375°F. Fry the chips a second time until they are golden brown and crisp. Drain on a rack and sprinkle with salt.
LORD OF THE FRIES SAUCE
Makes about 2 cups
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk, does not need to be whole milk – 2% will work
1 cup half & half
4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar, shredded
3 ounces of pepper jack, shredded
1/2 cup Rock Candy Japaenos, minced
2 tablespoons Rock Candy Jalapeno brine
1 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking until thoroughly blended. Cook for a couple of minutes – continuing to whisk – until a light roux forms. Slowly add the milk and half & half constantly stirring. Keep stirring and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens and starts bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese. Keep stirring until cheese has completely melted and there are no lumps.
When all the cheese has melted, stir in the jalapenos and hot sauce. Combine thoroughly.