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Who needs stadium to get great fries?

| Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No one taking you out to the ball game?

No need to miss out on great stadium-style fries if you'll be watching from home. This recipe for smoky chili garlic fries produces fries that are crispy and golden on the outside, but soft and tender inside.

If you'd rather avoid the trouble of frying at home, these fries also can be roasted in the oven. Just combine the seasonings with several tablespoons of oil and bake at 425 degrees until crisp. They won't have that authentic fried taste or texture, but they'll still be great.

Smoky Chili Garlic Fries

Start to finish: 5 hours (1 hour active)

• 6 russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)

• 2 quarts canola or other high-heat oil

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt

• 1 tablespoon garlic powder

• 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

• 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

Peel the potatoes, then cut them into strips about 1/3 inch thick. Place the potato strips in a large bowl, then cover with hot water and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain, then pat dry.

Line 2 baking sheet with paper towels.

In a blender, combine the salt, garlic powder, chili powder and paprika, then process until the salt and seasonings are finely ground. A mortar and pestle also can be used to grind the seasonings. Transfer to a small bowl or shaker bottle.

In a large, heavy pot over medium, heat the oil until it reaches 300 F. Working in batches, carefully lower the potato strips into the oil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to keep them from sticking together.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to the paper towel-lined baking sheets to drain. Repeat with remaining potato strips, allowing the oil to return to 300 F between batches.

Increase the oil temperature to 350 degrees.

Again working in batches, return the fries to the oil, cooking for 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fries to the baking sheets and immediately sprinkle with the seasoning mixture. Toss well, then serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

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