Do you love french fries? To not love french fries is almost downright un-american. But I bet you feel pretty guilty about an occasional indulgence. With this recipe you can put that to rest. The only thing unhealthy about fries is the oil that they are almost universally cooked in. That is a hydrogenated vegetable oil. So we switch the oil and voilà, we have a healthy dish!
Beef tallow is the fat McDonald’s used to use for their french fries. They changed over to a vegetable fat in 1983 under pressure from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (read The oiling of America for more info ). For those of us old enough to remember the beef tallow McDonald’s fries this recipe will allow you to continue your love affair with them, since McDonald’s no longer wants to cooperate 😉 And you can do so guilt free knowing that it’s a healthy treat!
Be aware that frying in this much oil on the stove requires some safety precautions that would have been common knowledge in Mrs. Dull’s time. Everyone should read up on what to do in case you have an oil fire before you begin. I can’t stress this enough! An grease fire handled improperly can have disastrous results! Keep that lid and a big bag of baking soda handy! Don’t let the precautions frighten you too much though. Women having been frying in their kitchens since time immemorial.
Mrs Dull’s recipe is on page 116 of “Southern Cooking”. It is a simple and straightforward version, with some directions added if you need to reheat the fries prior to serving.
- This recipe is pretty much like Mrs. Dull’s. For fat she simply specifies ‘grease’. My version requires beef tallow though I think lard would probably yield a good result too. If anyone has tried it please chime in in the comments below 🙂
Recipe for French Fries cooked in Beef Tallow on the Stovetop
- A few cups of beef tallow – this will vary according to the size of your pan. You’ll want it to be about 2 inches deep when melted.
- A few potatoes – a used red potatoes just because it’s what I had handy. I’ve heard that russets yield the best results.
- A slicer of some kind or a french fry cutter. Or just a good sharp knife.
- A deep, heavy saucepan. It MUST be more than twice as deep as your fat. Since we are shooting for 2 inches of fat, it should be at least 5 inches for safety. This is because there is some danger of the fat boiling over the rim and catching fire on the heating element. It also helps protect you from splatters.
- A fryer skimmer for lifting the fries in and out of the hot fat.
- A mixing bowl
- Some paper towels
- An instant read thermometer (optional)
- Wash your potatoes and peel if desired. Cut your fries into long strips. I used my bosch universal slicer shredder attachment which limits the length to the size of the shoot. If you want longer fries it’s handy to have a french fry cutter. Or for the kitchen minimalists, just a good sharp knife.
- Fill the mixing bowl with cold water put the fries in until you’re ready to fry.
- Fill your pan with tallow. Place your pan on a back-burner for safety. Set the burner to high.
- Dry the potatoes in preparation for the pan. Remember oil and water don’t mix!
- Wait until the oil is about 350-360 degrees. If you have an instant read thermometer you can use that to tell. If not, this article suggest a wooden spoon method of guesstimating the oils readiness.
- Put the cut potatoes in the grease carefully with the fryer skimmer. Let them cook ’till they are golden brown.
- Remove with the skimmer and place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
Chow down quickly! These fries are best immediately after cooking so you’ll want to enjoy them then. I think I took mine out a little too soon due to pressure from the boys who were very eager for their share. So the fries turned out a bit soft. Next time I’ll have to push everyone out of the kitchen 😉