Posted by aparriescaldwell
Every once in a while you want something simple, fast, and categorized as utter food porn. A few months ago, my husband and I took a trip to Knotts Berry Farm. Tiny park, but some I the most awesome roller coasters I’ve ever ridden. For lunch, we stopped in Fiesta Village at this place called Papa Loca. They sell nothing but fries. FRIES, FRIES, FRIES! This place has combinations that would blow your mind. My husband is a fry fan like no one I’ve ever met. So, after walking the park numerous times, I finally agreed to eat here. His eyes lit up like a kid at a carnival, and he started going back and forth about which one to get. Finally, he reasoned that I should get one and he would get this one, because clearly they were the two best.
Neither of us have been able to get those fries out of our minds. Well, my husband has been working extra hard at work this week, so I decided to surprise him for dinner.
These fries are open to so many possibilities. It starts by using any fries you like and adding any topping you want, but, since one of our favorites that day were the chili cheese fries with steak, that’s what I went for. My other goal with these fries was to make them easy. I’ve been battling a cold since last weekend, and, though the fever broke, I’m still pretty tired, and most of my energy has been spent catching up on housework and our very energetic dogs. However you make your fries, make it simple. Here’s how I did it.
1 LB Chuck Steak, or ground beef
Marinade: 2 TBSP Steak Seasoning, 1/4 C Worcestershire Sauce, 1 TBSP Liquid Smoke, 2 Bay Leaves, 1/2 TBSP Garlic Powder, 1/2 Yellow Onion (thinly sliced).
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Black Beans
1 pk Chili Seasoning
1 Can Nacho Cheese
1-2 C Arugula
1 Tomato, med dice
2 TBSP Onion, small dice
1 Green Onion, sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 LB French Fries, cooked and seasoned
1. Make the marinade in a sealable plastic bag and add the steak. Seal the bag and rub the marinade into the steak. Pop it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. Pull it out and allow it to come to room temp before cooking, about 20-30 minutes. (This will allow the meat to relax, and it will be much more tender when you cook it.)
2. Heat a pan on med heat and add a few TBSP of oil. Once the pan is hot, remove the steak from the bag and lay it in the pan. Cook it to your desired temp. Try to get a nice browning on both sides. Don’t worry if the onions get in the way. You can discard them once you’ve cooked the meat. When finished, remove the steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest while you prepare everything else. Slice it into thin strips to layer it.
3. Begin working on your other toppings. In a pot, empty your cans of beans and tomatoes, with the liquid. Bring to a boil, then, add the chili seasoning and reduce to a simmer. Cook at least 10 minutes, but don’t worry if it goes longer. It’ll be fine, just turn it to low when you’re finished and stir occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, you can empty your can of cheese into a small pot or microwaveable bowl and heat it any way you want. If you’re heating it on the stove top, keep the heat on low and stir it often. If microwaving, keep the timer to 30 seconds to begin with, stirring completely after every rotation. Lower the timer as it begins to heat through, like melting chocolate.
5. Prep your ingredients in an assembly line and let everyone make their own or stack it the way you think best. I stacked mine by starting with the fries first, then the arugula, chili, steak, yellow onions, cheese, tomatoes and green onions.
I know the arugula sounds weird, but it definitely adds a great texture in the layers and a pepperiness. The fresh onions and tomatoes just add a lightness and brightness to the dish and it doesn’t seem as heavy with the chili and processed cheese. I added a bit of cracked black pepper to the fries along with some kosher salt as they came out of the oven, but you can also add seasoning salt or Cajun seasoning, or a little chili pepper, or whatever else you like.
The best thing about these fries is that they’re totally customizable. You can make your special chili or homemade cheese sauce, you can use avocado and steak to lighten it instead of chili and cheese. You can use hamburger instead of steak. You can make it meatless for that vegetarian option. Add bacon, chicken, or shrimp or use my homemade tortilla chip recipe.
This is perfect for game day get togethers or tailgating parties. It’s even something different for potlucks, and has everything kids and men love! However, you make these… MAKE THESE, and Enjoy!