After a week on the road, I’m happy to be back in the kitchen. We had some amazing bites and booze along the way (which you probably saw if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter). We came back with quite a bit of bourbon and a few fun pantry items—including a barrel-aged bourbon vanilla extract and jar of watermelon pickles. Now that we’re back I’m looking forward to sharing a few more of my favorite American recipes to finish out July. First up are these amazing Beer-Soaked Oven Fries with Garlic and Rosemary.
I’ve been seeing beer fries popping up on my social networks and I knew I had to give them a try. M is originally from Cologne, Germany and is quite passionate about the root vegetable. We make fries quite often as a side for grilled meats or sandwiches. After years of experimentation, we’ve nailed down the perfect cooking technique and have a few favorite seasoning combinations. But I’ve never soaked them in beer.
French fries originally hail from Belgium (or France, depending on who you ask), but they’ve been known to Americans since the 1890s. Fried potatoes are popular in many cuisines, in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and with various accompaniments. But the thin, crispy style of fry most associated with the U.S. became popular thanks to fast food chains such as McDonald’s.
I love a good double-fried French fry, but my waistline doesn’t, so we usually bake our fries. (However, if you have a hankering for deep-fried French fries, check out my recipe for Fish and Chips.)
As the official house carb chef, M is usually in charge of peeling and cutting the potatoes. For size and shape, we take the Goldilocks approach: not too thin, not too thick, just right.
Since we’re exploring recipes from the United States this month, I used one of my favorite American beers, Sam Adams. Invented in 1984, Sam Adams was one of the first American craft beers and surged to popularity after being named America’s Best Beer at the Great American Beer Festival in 1985. Sam Adams is now considered the largest craft brewer in the U.S., with 1,300 employees in three states.
Sam Adams isn’t my favorite craft beer, but I like its smooth and well-balanced toasty flavor, and thought it would marry well with the earthiness of the russet and sweet potatoes.
After peeling and cutting a large russet and sweet potato, I soaked the spuds overnight in the beer. When it was time to bake, I removed as much moisture as possible by running the potatoes through my salad spinner and then patting gently with paper towels. I tossed the wedges in olive oil, along with crushed garlic and chopped fresh herbs, and arranged on a sheet tray.
I like my oven fries super crispy—almost blistered—so I cooked them at a high temperature for about 40-50 minutes, turning at least twice. Just when they were starting to go from golden to a tad too dark, I pulled the fries from the oven, sprinkled them with sea salt and black pepper, and devoured them.
These Beer-Soaked Fries have the crispy, salty and slightly oily texture that makes all French fries amazing. A little salt and garlic? Oh my. But don’t forget the beer. Beneath the layers of salt and spice is a hint of toasty malt that makes the fries extra special.
This dish should serve one as a main dish (which is how I ate it) or two as a side, and can easily be doubled (or tripled) depending on how many people you’re serving. If you’re making a larger batch of oven fries, use additional baking trays and be sure to rotate the pans throughout the cooking process to ensure even baking. If you’re gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free beer or a dry cider.
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into fries or wedges
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into fries or wedges
- 2 bottles of your favorite beer
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Sea salt and pepper
- Peel and cut potatoes into fries or wedges. Place in a large bowl and add enough beer to cover. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove fries from beer and dry thoroughly in a salad spinner or using paper towels. Discard beer.
- Add fries to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, rosemary and thyme until coated.
- Place fries in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
- Bake 40-50 minutes, until fries are crispy and golden on the outside and cooked all the way through. Turn fries twice during baking, about every 15 minutes. If fries begin to brown too quickly, lower oven temperature to 400 degrees.
- Serve immediately. To crisp up fries that have become cold or soggy, place in a hot oven for 3-5 minutes.
- Prep time includes soaking time.
If you do cook up my Beer-Soaked Oven Fries, be sure to tell me what you think and tag your post with #lexibites.