Few things in life are as wonderful as kicking back to watch your favorite NFL teams on Sundays, but the experience loses a little of its luster when you find yourself eating mediocre takeout. That’s where our Game Day Grub series comes in. Each week, we’ll bring you seven recipes for some of your favorite football foods. It’s going to be a delicious season.
Ordering some french fries from a favorite eatery is an easy way bring your favorite snack to an afternoon of football at home. Once packaged in a foam or aluminum takeaway box, though, you can guarantee they’ll be soggy and limp long before you dig in at kickoff. For truly great fries, you’ll have to do a little bit of the work yourself. Since you’re going to the effort of making them, you might as well go beyond basic fried potatoes and ketchup. These seven recipes seriously upgrade the basic bar food into something spectacular, so get cooking.
1. Butter-Garlic Oven Fries with Herbs
Boiled potatoes covered with butter and herbs probably made the dinnertime rotation at your childhood house on a regular basis. Take the flavors of that beloved dish to new heights with these crispy oven fries from Jeff Mauro, which he shared with Food Network. While the fries bake, gently cook garlic in the butter for an easy and flavorful sauce. Once the potatoes are golden, toss them with the garlic butter and herbs. No ketchup needed.
This recipe uses an interesting technique for the fries. Initially, you seal the pan with foil, which allows the potatoes to steam. This extra step will ensure the spuds come out completely tender without getting too dark and shriveled.
- 3 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 12 wedges each
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Directions: Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak potato wedges in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, drain, then fully pat dry with paper towels or a lint-free dish cloth.
Layer baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil, and generously season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes to pan, and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread evenly over pan in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil, and bake 5 to 10 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until bottoms are golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Flip with a spatula, and cook until second side is golden brown, another 10 to 13 minutes.
In a small sauté pan, melt butter with garlic, and let gently cook over medium-low heat until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.
When potatoes are cooked, toss with garlic butter and fresh herbs. Serve.
2. Baked Chili Cheese Fries
Though tons of variations on fries are a staple on restaurant menus, chili cheese fries have all but disappeared. It’s too bad, because this throwback dish is delicious. Bring the snack to your next football party with Everyday Dishes & DIY’s hearty recipe. Using frozen, prepared spuds keeps the process easy while a homemade chili still makes it taste gourmet. For a spicy kick, try pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar.
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 5 teaspoons chili powder
- 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bag frozen french fries
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Green onions
- Sour cream
Directions: In a medium-size pot or large saucepan, cook ground beef over medium-high heat, breaking into small pieces, until completely browned. Drain grease, and return to heat. Add onion and pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until onion begins to soften. Add chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and Worcestershire, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
About 30 minutes after chili has been simmering, bake fries according to package directions. Once brown and crisp, remove from oven, and sprinkle with a generous amount of cheese. Return fries to oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Transfer to a serving plate.
Season chili with salt and pepper, then ladle over fries. Garnish with green onions and sour cream. Serve.
3. Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Lime Dip
Everyone’s favorite sweet spud tastes pretty great in fry form. This simple dish from Favorite Family Recipes is about as fuss-free as it gets. It opts for tossing the sweet potatoes and oil in a zip-top bag instead of a bowl, so you have one less dish to worry about. The fries are great as is, but don’t skip the chipotle sauce. All you have to do is stir together a handful of ingredients, then pop it in the fridge.
- 1¼ cups mayonnaise
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 to 4 sweet potatoes
- Vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
Directions: In a small bowl, mix all dip ingredients to combine. Chill at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut sweet potatoes into fries, and transfer to a zip-top bag. Add a drizzle of oil, seal bag, and turn to coat.
Transfer potatoes to a sheet tray, and bake 35 to 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until sweet potatoes are lightly browned. Remove from oven, and immediately season with salt. Serve with chipotle lime dip.
4. Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary
Parsnips have a sweetness that’s similar to a carrot and a starchy quality reminiscent of potatoes, so you can bet they make awesome fries. We like Epicurious’ oven method for its simplicity and delicious results. The time in the oven really brings out the flavor, and a sprinkling of rosemary makes them even better. If you can’t find parsnips, you can substitute carrots.
- 2½ pounds parsnips or carrots, peeled and cut into 3-by-12-inch strips
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 whole rosemary sprigs
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin, plus more
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Spread parsnips into a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over top.
Roast for 10 minutes, turn parsnips, and continue roasting until parsnips are tender and browned in spots, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from sprigs over, discard stems, and toss to coat. Sprinkle cumin over. Season with salt, pepper, and more cumin, if desired. Serve.
5. Crispy Zucchini Fries with Tangy Dip
Zucchini can go from perfectly cooked to mushy in an instant. This recipe from Clinton Kelly, featured on The Chew, is a great way to solve the soggy problem since it relies on a breading procedure. The hot oven makes the exterior golden and crispy while still leaving a bit of texture to the squash. After one bite, zucchini might become your new favorite vegetable.
Though the mayo and sour cream dip is pretty great the way it is, you can easily change it up with other ingredients. Try different combinations of herbs, spices, and even citrus juice. If you want a dip with a little more kick, mix in a bit of cayenne or hot sauce.
- 1½ pounds zucchini
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 to 3 eggs, whisked
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 to 2 teaspoons celery salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut ends off zucchini, and discard. Slice in half crosswise, then cut lengthwise into medium-thick fries.
Place flour in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper. Place eggs in another shallow dish. Combine panko and paprika in a third dish, season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.
Working in batches, dredge zucchini in flour, shaking off excess. Coat in egg, then cover in breadcrumbs. Place zucchini on a wire rack in a single layer. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and crispy.
Meanwhile, whisk together all dip ingredients. Season with salt, to taste. Serve zucchini with dip.
Though this dish is wildly popular in the U.S., it all started in Canada. Where and when is a little hazy. According to Food Republic, three different people claim to have invented the beloved snack. While you can now find versions with all sorts of wild toppings, this dish might be best left to the basic combination of cheese curds, fries, and gravy.
Poutine is best fresh, so making it at home is the way to go. We like Saveur’s recipe because it’s straightforward and loaded with flavor. An easy gravy gets a boost from a little bit of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Once the gravy is ready, the rest of the dish comes together pretty easily. Just fry the potatoes in batches, ladle on the gravy, and top with cheese curds.
- 4 pounds russet potatoes, skin-on, washed, and dried
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole green peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Canola oil
- 2 cups cheddar cheese curds
Directions: Cut potatoes into fries 4 inches long and ¼ inch in thickness. Place in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add stock, ketchup, vinegar, peppercorns, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, and keep warm.
Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a 6-quart Dutch oven, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain potatoes, and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Working in small batches, add potatoes to oil. Fry, tossing occasionally, until tender and slightly crisp, about 4 minutes.
Drain potatoes on paper towels, and let cool for 20 minutes. Increase temperature to medium high, and heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Working in small batches, return potatoes to oil. Fry, tossing occasionally, until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer fries to paper towels to drain briefly. Divide among serving bowls. Pour gravy over each serving, and top with cheese curds. Serve immediately.
7. Baked Polenta Fries with Tomato Garlic Sauce
Vegetables aren’t the only foods that taste great in fry form. For something completely unexpected, try these polenta oven fries from Oh My Veggies. Though you could make your own polenta, this recipe uses the packaged kind in a tube for a much speedier process. The sauce is equally easy. Pulse some quickly roasted tomatoes and garlic with balsamic vinegar, basil, and olive oil in the food processor. Think of it as the Italian version of ketchup.
- 1 (24-ounce) tube polenta, halved and cut into 1-inch-thick fries
- Cooking spray
- Salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 basil leaves
- Pinch or red pepper flakes
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
Place polenta fries on one baking sheet, spray with more cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper. Place tomatoes and garlic on second baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray.
Transfer both sheets to the oven, placing tomatoes on lower rack. Bake tomatoes and garlic for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven. Bake fries 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp and golden.
Once cool enough to handle, transfer tomatoes and garlic to food processor. Add olive oil, vinegar, basil, and pepper flakes. Blend until nearly smooth. Season with salt. Serve sauce with fries.