French fries are beach food. At least, that’s how I see them. You might think of them as diner food or drive-through food or carnival food. But to me, they’re beach food. I used to get them, doused in vinegar of course, from beachside canteens in my youth. To this day, I can’t set foot on a patch of sand without craving fries. The craving only intensifies post-swim. These days, I’m not clocking much beach time. I’ve mostly been working on my snow shoveling technique. But I can’t help but fantasize about the warmer seasons to come. And it was during one of these daydreams that these White Bean Chili Fries wandered into my head.
Chili fries weren’t something I grew up with. Honestly, chili fries aren’t something I thought I’d like. I’m not a fan of soggy fries, and yes, that does mean I am a Canadian who doesn’t like poutine. I also don’t like hockey, I’m basically the worst at being Canadian. So while I do enjoy chili and, as we have established, I do enjoy fries, I didn’t like the thought of the two getting together.
But that all changed one fateful summer about ten years ago. When my boyfriend at the time bought an order of chili fries at a local burger stand. I remember being quite annoyed because I had wanted to steal some fries. It’s a lot harder to sneak a few fries off of someone’s plate when they’re covered in chili and cheese. But in the end, I asked for a bite and was surprised to find I loved them. I have no explanation for why I’m fine with fries doused in chili and not okay with fries covered in gravy. Just a personal quirk, I suppose. And yes, I agree it’s weird.
In spite of my successful maiden chili fry voyage, I haven’t felt compelled to order them all that much. And when I have, I’ve found most renditions to be disappointing. So, being me, I thought it was time to build the chili fries I wanted to see in the world and today’s White Bean Chili Fries are what emerged. So let’s dig into them.
These White Bean Chili fries feature a bed of spicy waffle fries, a white bean chili, and a ton of veg. The white bean chili is a vegetarian version of the American classic white chicken chili. The toppings are pretty much what I put in every burrito and on top of every taco – cheese, red cabbage, avocado, jalapeños, hot sauce, and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. You could add tortilla chips for a chip-on-chip experience or throw on some pickled red onions for a hit of fuchsia. This is very much a choose-your-own-adventure scenario, so pile on the toppings that make your heart sing.
I’m just going to rip this band-aid off quickly and tell you I did not make the fries. I didn’t think it was necessary. I am a great lover of hand-cut fries, don’t get me wrong. But I also love a round of what my mother refers to as “oven fries”. You know, the kind of fries where all you have to do is preheat your oven, tear open a bag with your teeth, and pile the fries on a baking sheet? Okay, the teeth thing is optional but you get what I’m saying.
Yes, fresh is best when it comes to fries. But I feel like asking you to make a pot of chili AND hand-cut fries in a single night is a bridge too far. So while this is completely out of character, I do advise you to purchase your fries. Plus, there are so many good waffle fries available in the freezer aisle, so why argue with a good thing?
Can we take a minute to appreciate the waffle fry? I mean, I realize they’re just fancy slices of potatoes and a kind of garish one at that but they just scream fun. They feel like childhood and they totally fit the whole midway vibe of these White Chili Fries. Plus, they can hold a lot of chili, and they stay relatively crisp after being doused. You can, of course, choose any cut of fry you fancy. But personally, I feel like the waffle fry is close to non-negotiable. It really is the best fry for the job.
White Bean Chili Fries
- 2 Large Baking Sheets
- 1 heavy bottom pot
White Bean Chili
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 2 (540 ml, 18 fl oz) cans white beans drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 (127ml, 4 fl oz) can green chiles
- 2 jalapeños quartered and sliced
- 150g (5oz) goat cheese
Spiced Waffle Fries
- 2 (540g, 19oz) bags frozen waffle fries
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp demerara sugar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- 1 cup mozzarella shredded
- ¼ head red cabbage shredded
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 jalapeño thinly sliced
- ½ cup yogurt or sour cream
- fresh cilantro for sprinkling
- hot sauce for sprinkling
For the Chili
- Pour the olive oil into a large heavy bottom pot and place over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until just translucent. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute more.2 tbsp olive oil, 1 yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic
- Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and ground coriander. Sauté until fragrant. Stir in the beans and toss to coat. Sauté for a minute or two before transferring them to a bowl and setting them aside.1 tbsp chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp ground coriander, 2 (540 ml, 18 fl oz) cans white beans
- Add the butter to the and melt. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock, followed by the milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the beans back to the pot. Stir in the corn, the green chiles, and honey. Simmer for 15 minutes. **3 tbsp unsalted butter, 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, 2 cups vegetable stock, 1 cup whole milk, 1 tbsp honey, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 (127ml, 4 fl oz) can green chiles
- Once the 15 minutes are up, stir in the jalapeños and the goat cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Taste and season accordingly with salt. Cover the chili and take it off of the heat. Keep warm until ready to serve.2 jalapeños, 150g (5oz) goat cheese
For the Fries
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Arrange the fries on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place them in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the fries once halfway through.2 (540g, 19oz) bags frozen waffle fries
- While the fries are in the oven, place all the spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine.2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp demerara sugar, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp cayenne, ¼ tsp ground coriander
- Once the fries are done place them in a large bowl and add the spice mix. Toss to coat the fries.
For the White Bean Chili Fries
- Divide the fries across four bowls and spoon the chili over each. Top the bowls with cheese, cabbage, avocado, jalapeño slices, cilantro, yogurt, and hot sauce. Serve immediately.1 cup mozzarella, ¼ head red cabbage, 1 avocado, 1 jalapeño, ½ cup yogurt or sour cream, fresh cilantro, hot sauce