French fried potatoes topped with chili beef and garnished with cheese. Serve as a main dish or as a snack any day of the week. Or make a huge batch for a crowd. This dish is a real crowd-pleaser. Adults love it because it is unpretentious; kids love it because, well… because it has everything that kids love.
For my version, I cooked the chili beef with bacon for added flavor. Then, after assembling the dish, I popped it into a very hot oven for about five minutes to melt the cheese and to make sure that all three layers are evenly heated.
The chili component can be cooked several days in advance. That should lessen the time you need to spend in the kitchen on the day you want to serve the chili fries — something you must really consider if serving it for a party. If you like a more gooey version, pour Cheez Whiz on top instead of grated cheese. Messier to eat but some people like it better that way.
- 1 kilogram potatoes cut as for French fries
- 300 grams ground beef
- 200 grams belly bacon minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 to 4 chilies chopped
- 4 to 6 tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 150 grams cheese grated (I used sharp cheddar)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 pinch cayenne powder optional
- 2 to 3 cup cooking oil
Put the bacon in a non-stick frying pan and cook until fat is rendered. Add the beef, cook, stirring to break up lumps, until no longer pink. Add the onion, chilis and garlic, cook until fragrant and the onion bits start to soften.
Add the chopped tomatoes and pour in the Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and paprika. Stir well, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the beef is done and the tomatoes are mushy.
For this recipe, I prefer my beef to be rather dry as too much liquid turns the fries soggy. During the last five minutes of cooking, I uncovered the pan and continued cooking the beef until quite dry. Then, I stirred in a tablespoonful of parsley.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan and cook the potatoes (see tips on preparing homemade and hand cut French fries). Drain the fries.
If you prefer not to fry the potatoes, toss them with a little olive oil and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden.
Grate the cheese. I did this while the potatoes were frying.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Now, assemble the dish. Start by scattering the fries in an oven-proof dish.
Pour the chili beef at the center.
Top with the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining parsley and, optionally, some cayenne powder.
Bake in a 450F oven for five to seven minutes. Serve hot.