Craft Beer Fries
Who doesn’t like French Fries or “Craft Beer Fries”? Well, you might say, health conscious people, of course.
What if you can have your fries and drink them, too? Well, now you can! My friend, meet “Craft Beer Fries”.
Last summer, I repeatedly made a whole bunch of deep-fried crisp potato French Fries. So I feel very qualified to tell you that it is possible to “have your fries and drink them, too”. But, I did not get to eat them all – not with a bunch of hungry teenagers around. Of course, to have your fries and drink them, too, you have to use the right recipe.
What is the right recipe? For a Craft Beer Lover, that recipe must include the perfect craft beer, of course. You don’t have that perfect brew on hand? Well, then, maybe any good craft beer will do. 🙂
”Good Craft Beer”: An artisan beer that is made with rich taste, heady aroma, and a good body. Hmm, those phrases could be about another subject. [grin]
So, here is what you need before pulling out the kettle to make those Craft Beer Fries you’re already anxious to make:
- First, you need fresh potatoes – Irish (stout) potatoes, or new potatoes, or sweet potatoes, or blue potatoes, or whatever variety your heart desires.
- Olive oil. Extra Virgin, of course. Gotta keep it healthy. You don’t need gallons, like you’re thinking. You probably already have enough on hand – that is, if you cook.
- Pepper and other spices. You like Cayenne? You can use it here, if you want. Don’t forget the garlic.
- Kosher salt. A foodie might say, “Is there any other salt besides Kosher?” Yes, there’s sea salt, and you could use it if you wanted, but I like the coarse grains of the Kosher salt.
- More Spices. Hot is good! Hot is good in more than one way. Well, maybe except for the heat waves during July and August. You’ll be cooling down with your “leftover” beer anyway.
- Oh, yes, I almost forgot. That beer. The craft beer that you just bought that’s sitting in your fridge just waiting to be opened. You’ll have to use a couple of them here. Don’t worry, that still leaves 4 for you to drink.
Do you need an excuse for hot potatoes? Of course not – not with a baked “fried potato” recipe. Sounds like a great afternoon snack to me!
Yes, not just half-baked, but fully baked. That’s what I said – baked all the way. No frying needed. Of course, home brewers or craft beer lovers are eligible to make this recipe. That’s how I qualify. You see, it was late summer and I needed to make French Fries for some teenagers who were so hungry they could eat a … Well, you get the picture.
Enter, The Recipe, the one that the Chef insisted I had to use. It was a summer camp to teach “gourmet” cooking to teenagers and I was a Volunteer. A Volunteer. What was I thinking? I was thinking, “Great food!”
But, deep frying potatoes? Yuck! That was too much for me. Don’t tell the Head Chef! I hope that she is still fooled by the Chardonnay that I put in her… Oh, never mind.
Fried or baked, what’s the difference? One is good and the other can be even better. The choice is up to you, the “Volunteer”. 🙂
I had the class cut, “peels on, please”, all the potatoes into evenly shaped and sized pieces. Well, as evenly shaped and sized as a group of raucous teenagers could be forced to cut. Then, I brought out the “secret” ingredient… BEER! Shush. I could get into trouble if the authorities found out about it. 😉
The recipe you’ve been waiting for:
Craft Beer Fries Recipe
(Serves 4 as a side dish or 1 – 2 hungry teenagers)
- 24 ounces ale or whatever craft brew you desire
- 3 to 4 medium-size Russet, Irish or other BIG potatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced – skin off.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black peppercorns
- And all those extra spices I said you could use
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Then, leaving the skins on, cut into ¼” thick slabs (think “home fries”). Each potato should be large enough to yield about 20 fries.
- Combine potato slabs and beer in a large bowl. Let soak for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the excess beer. Drink beer – NOT! At least not beer drained from the potato slabs. The extra 4 bottles in the fridge are the ones you want to drink.
- Toss the fries with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Substitute oregano or rosemary, etc. for/with garlic)
- Use two large baking sheets, or as many small ones as you can muster. Spread the fries in a single layer on the pans so that none are stacked or overlapping.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, tossing twice during cooking. Rotate pans in oven after about 20 – 25 minutes, to insure even heat distribution.
- Cook until browned as desired.
- Place hot baked fries into a paper bag. Toss with extra Kosher salt to taste, plus fresh-chopped herbs like rosemary or thyme, and/or grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.
- Enjoy! Be sure and tell your camp members that they need to leave some for the Head Chef. When camp members are gone, enjoy the Head Chef’s portion yourself [grin] with –
- A cool, fresh craft brew or home brew from your refrigerator. 🙂
Special thanks to Evan Benn, Beer Columnist at St. Louis Post Dispatch and Author of “Brew in the Lou: St. Louis’ Beer Culture”, for inspiring this article.
Written by David Ivey, Black Bucket Brew Inbox Magazine Editor