Sooooooo…….yes. It’s time to put up at least one good appetizer that you should add to the menu this Sunday for your Superbowl festivities. Oh, I have about a million that I would love to share, but oh so little time.
You know, I was watching a late night episode of “Friends” the other day, where Monica meets some European cheese-lover man and they hit it off. Chandler starts getting jealous. You know, Monica is a head chef at a fancy restaurant in New York, and Chandler is always trying to take her out to a greasy burger joint for man food. Well, in the end the jealousy is unfounded…blahblah….Monica, “I don’t believe in soulmates, but I chose you….” blahblahblah, then Chandler’s all happy again and then suggests they go out to get some jalapeno poppers and buffalo wings. And, of course, Monica still cringes, and Chandler’s like, “Still no?”
Seriously Monica! What is wrong with you? Dude, I love my fair share of stinky cheeses and high-end gourmet food items, but still, sometimes you just need some good ‘ole greasy, spicy eats.
Ok, my friends. These Sweet Potato Fries are good, and because they are baked they’re not even greasy! (Although I do love me some fried sweet potato fries). But what makes this my favorite is the Chipotle Dip. It is amazingly easy to make, and it’s amazingly good! Seriously, this dip goes far beyond these fries. I have used leftover dip in carnitas/burritos/anything Mexican, and as a spread on burgers. Really, there are so many options.
Now let’s get the scoop on Sweet Potato Fries. I’m not gonna lie – sweet potato fries are not like traditional french fries. I have seen blog arguments over which are better. Wellllllll……it depends. What do you like? I like both for different reasons. There’s nothing like a good crispy, salty french fry. One thing I do love about sweet potato fries is the flavor. That little bit of sweetness is just mm-mm good. And the sprinkling of cumin in this recipe just makes them sing. That sweetness, complimented with this smoky, spicy dip is just YUM.
One thing I do not like about sweet potato fries is when they are soggy. And keeping them crispy (especially by baking) is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You see, they have a high moisture content, so they tend to steam versus bake. Not good in this scenario. But there are a few tricks (listed below) that I’ve learned to help out with that. I’m still playing around with finding the absolute best technique, so I’m sure I’ll update this post later (if you already have the technique – like tested and approved, let me know! I’ve seen so many posts “claiming” to have the perfect technique, but I haven’t quite achieved that yet to have them come out perfectly every time and not make it a huge ordeal in the process).
Tips to help crisp up sweet potato fries for baking:
1) A few hours before cook time, soak the fries in an ice bath for about an hour, then remove and dry thoroughly. Make sure they are completely dry before completing the next steps. I’m not sure how much of a difference soaking makes. I’ve noticed a little….. The concept is to pull out some of the starch, and this trick is often used with potatoes for french fries as well.
2) Even better, do the ice bath the morning of or the day before and then let them “dry out” a bit before cooking (either just in the fridge or on the counter). I’ve saved chopped fries for the next day when I had a ton of fries that I cut up and just realized I would be wasting some if I cooked them all. I put them in the fridge, and then took them out the next day, making sure they were nice and dry before completing the other steps and they definitely crisped up better!
3) Try this cornstarch trick to help suck the moisture out and create a crisp coating. I’ve tried this a couple of times – the first time, I got a little too much cornstarch on there because it had a weird residual taste that I didn’t like. The second time, it was a much thinner coat, but I didn’t notice much difference with the crispiness factor then with my usual method. But I’ve seen a lot of positive feedback about using cornstarch. I’ll try again sometime and report back!
4) Cook at a hotter temperature. I like to do around 425 or so. You could probably go up to 450 – just keep a close eye on them.
5) Use a “gold-touch” baking sheet. My sis-in-law swears by them. They do amazing things for crisping! I gotta get me one soon…..Or a darker well-used cookie sheet is also good.
6) Do not overcrowd the baking sheet. There needs to be room in-between each fry.
7) Leave in the oven while the oven cools down so they continue to dry and crisp (about 30 min). I saw this tip at Sally’s Baking Addiction. Haven’t tried it yet, because I’m always in too much of a hurry to eat them! Another 30 min? But if it works, maybe I’ll try to plan ahead better……Oh man, sounds like I need a course in time management, eh?
8) If you are running short on time like me pretty much all of the time (like, not even time for an ice bath), cut wedges versus skinny fries (skins on or off). They will still be a bit soft in the middle, but the surface area will crisp up better.
Whatever method you want to use, try this dip/fries/both!
Sweet Potato Fries or Wedges with Smoky Chipotle Dip
For the Fries:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil approximate
- Ground cumin to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dip:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chipotle paste I take a small can of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, blend in up in a food processor, and then take the paste from that, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1-2 green onions sliced, white ends discarded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Wash and peel the potato. With a sharp chef's knife, cut the potato into 1/4 inch slices. Then take each slice, and cut another 1/4 inch slice to make your fries.
One hour or more before baking time, throw the fries into an ice bath to help pull out the starch. Dry thoroughly when removed from water. (If you do this the day before, and then let them sit a while on your counter or in your fridge to "air out" this helps tremendously with getting them crispier.)
Put cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag. Throw dried fries into bag and shake, shake, shake! You will want just a fine coating on each fry.
Pull fries out of bag and dump onto dark baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over the fries. Using hands, toss to coat evenly.
Sprinkle ground cumin, salt, and pepper, to taste, over the fries. Toss to coat evenly.
Space fries out on baking sheet, leaving space between each.
Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and flip fries over. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until skins have puffed and crisped (will also have brown spots).
Remove from oven and serve immediately!
For the dip:
While fries are cooking, in a small bowl, mix together sour cream, chipotle paste, lime juice and green onion (reserving a few green onion slices for garnish, if desired). Set aside and serve with hot fries.
Change it Up:
Instead of fries, cut wedges (skins on or off). Then simply brush with olive oil, and sprinkle on seasonings. Cook for about 25 minutes, rotating pan half way into baking. This will result in a creamy middle and a crispy outside!
Dress it Down:
For the dip, just mix sour cream and chipotle paste. It's amazing even without the other little additions!
Need more Super Bowl munchies? Here are a few others to try:
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