Homemade Chips

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Published on: July 18, 2012
 

I first made these chips with my Turbot and sweetcorn sauce recipe.  I pretty much made it up as I was going but they turned out really well.  I decided to separate the chips from the main recipe as I will probably reuse them in other dishes!

It’s easy to go out and just buy some nice frozen oven chips, it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s cheap.  There is nothing wrong with frozen chips but I like being able to alter my chips to suit whatever I am serving them with.  Yes, you can buy french fries, oven chips, crinkle chips or curly fries but the potatoes used to make them largely stay the same.  On top of that, my own homemade chips are extra crispy but still fluffy in the middle.  Yes, making chips is a fairly prolonged process but it’s actually quite easy and I prefer my own chips over frozen chips.  Is that enough to justify making them over just buying some?  Maybe, maybe not but I’m a food sadist!

What variety of potato should you use?

Any potato that is suitable for roasting is suitable for making chips.  Actually, any floury potato will do.  Maris Piper is a popular choice and will taste just like your typical oven chips.  The more waxy potatoes won’t fare so well, not because of taste or texture but they won’t have that outer crispy layer.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t try out a waxy potato for chips, I just wouldn’t recommend it.  Desiree, Maris Piper, Rooster, King Edward and Sante all make good chips.

To par boil or not to par boil?

The best chips, are dry chips.  Moisture will stop the chips going crispy.  So if you’re in a rush, don’t par boil.  On the other hand, I prefer to par boil and it’s for the same reasons I par boil my roast potatoes – fluff.  A potato that has been par boiled (particularly the floury varieties) will go fluffy on the outside if you give them a gentle shake in the pan.  Once you start roasting or frying the potato that fluff goes crispy and that creates the nice crunchy chip that you want!  But, moist potatoes will make for soggy chips right?  The best way to dry out potatoes (other than sticking them in the oven) is to stick them in the fridge.  Ever notice how cheese in the fridge gets hard around the edges?  That’s because the cold air in the fridge dries things out and that’s why you should always keep your veg in the veggie drawer of the fridge.  A little bit of salt and about an hour or two in the fridge will draw out all the moisture in your par boiled potatoes.

What’s the best way to cook chips?

Deep fry.  But because of the effort involved and the quantities of oil / fat needed I shallow fry my chips.  Again, deep frying will produce nice crispy chips as the water will vapourise but the same result can be achieved when shallow frying.  First, we have already par boiled and “fridged” our chips, reducing moisture.  Now we need some very hot oil.  For that we need an oil with a high smoke point, not only that but we don’t want the oil to turn rancid (some oils are more susceptible than others) and spoil the taste of our chips.  The best oil, is actually animal fats.  Firstly, they smoke at a very high temperature, secondly it’s hard to make them go rancid and lastly they add a magnificent flavour to the chips!  I used goose fat the first time around and it worked beautifully.  Personally I would recommend beef fat as the ideal choice but it’s a bit harder to get hold of unless you go to a butcher and make it yourself.

Next comes the actual cooking.  Beef fat, high temp and cold, dry chips… Roughly 10mins of shallow frying and you should have a nice, slightly brown, fairly crispy chip.  Now remove it from the oil and dry it on some paper towels; this will stop the chips from soaking up too much oil and becoming soggy.  At this point, you can store your chips for a couple of hours (in the fridge is fine) and when you are finally ready to serve, all you need to do is fry the chips again in hot oil for about 2-3mins to give them another crispy layer and finish off the colour.  It’s the perfect way to cook chips ahead of time, a double thick layer of crispy chip with nice fluffy potato inside.

 Ingredients (serves 2):

400g floury potatoes (maris piper, desiree, etc)

Goose or Beef fat

Good quality Salt

 

Method:

1.  Peel the potatoes and cut them into equal size strips.

2.  Par boil the potatoes, drain and then lightly shake the potatoes in the pan so that they start to go fluffy.

3.  Place the potatoes on some paper towels and then lightly salt them.

4.  Now place the potatoes in the fridge for about 2 hours.

5.  Heat the beef fat in a saute pan or high-sided frying pan until it almost reaches it’s smoke point

6.  Place the potatoes in the now hot oil and fry for about 10mins or until slightly brown and crispy

7.  Remove the chips from the pan and blot dry with a paper towel.  If you are preparing ahead of time, the chips can be stored for a couple of hours.

8.  Remove any bits of chips from the oil and reheat to smoke point

9.  Fry the chips once more for about 3 to 5mins until crispy

10.  Place the chips in a bowl lined with paper towels, season with salt and serve.

 

Tips:

Change the oil at the halfway point if you have to, don’t let any bits of chips burn as it might turn the oil rancid.

It’s up to you how thick you want your chips.  Smaller thinner ones tend to be slightly crisper but burn easily.  I prefer thicker chips, but not too thick!  Otherwise they will soak up oil and go soggy.

I’ve not put down an exact amount of fat because you only need enough to cover the entire base of your pan (about 1cm deep), so it all depends on the size of your pan!



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