So I love chilli, I love chips and I love cheese. From there I decided to try my hand at chilli cheese fries. This is so easy to make it is insane and it is my absolute favourite comfort food dinner (well that and macaroni cheese, but since going vegan I have not had that!). Whenever I am feeling like I want junk for my dinner or like I want something with minimal effort this is it. The other great thing about chilli is you can use anything you have, I often don’t make other recipes as I would have to drive to a shop to get ingredients, but I always have in the staples for chilli, meat free mince and tomatos.
I will start with the bit that takes the longest, the chips. In my house we NEVER have chips from the freezer. We get a veg box each week straight from the farm so always have a good supply of tatties (potatoes for the non-Scots!). Honestly we probably have chips 3 times a week minimum. I have an obsession, if I don’t have them with chilli and cheese I love to cover them in tabasco or piri piri salt. Yum! So here it is, the insanely rediculouly easy recipie for chips.
As many potatoes as you want to eat, rule of thumb for each gram of potatoes you are eating the same in calories more or less, so the first few times you do it weigh them to be sure. I normally have around 400 grams worth for each person. But then I eat a lot!
Herbs and spices as required
1. Wash potatoes (although you could probs even skip this step if the tatties aren’t covered in mud!)
2. Chop potatoes into thin or thick strips depending on your preference, I like to mix it up a bit, mainly as I just cut them any old way haha!
3. Mix chips with a generous drizzle of oil, and at this stage if you want herbs add them. You can also add salt if you want, although we don’t in our house, unless its piri piri salt. I often mix in some oregano and paprika for chilli cheese fries.
4. Put the chips in the oven for 45 minutes at 200 degrees. If you have added herbs or spices they will burn quicker, so you may want to turn the oven down to 190 or 195. Turn every 15 minutes or so to ensure they don’t stick and get a nice crispy coating.
5. Eat! It really is that simple, I have no idea why anyone would want to have oven chips when it is this easy to make your own, and personally I think these chips are 100x better than oven chips too.
So next up, while my chips are cooking I make my chilli. I have given teaspoon measures for the herbs and spices, but honestly I just pour it in, this is just an estimate of the amount I use. Give it a taste test and add extras as you see fit.
1 x bag vegan mince
1 x tin chopped tomatoes
1 x onion
3 x peppers of mixed variety (I love green, my husband loves red so I mix it up)
1 x handful mushrooms
2 x cloves garlic
1/2 x butternut squash (I only add this if I get one in my veg box, but do love it if we have!)
1 x tin kidney beans
1/2 x jar sliced black olives
1 x vegan stock cube
1 x teaspoon paprika
2 x teaspoon oregano
1 x teaspoon cumin
1/2 x teaspoon chilli powder
1 x lime
And any other veg you see fit, I use anything that I have, chilli is very versatile.
1. Fry the onions, garlic and meat free mince for around 5 minutes.
2. Add the spices and herbs. Heat for a further 2 minutes.
3. Add the jar of chopped tomatoes and a pour of boiled water and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. I say a pour of warm water, you just have to decide for yourself. I used to religiously pour in 200mls but sometimes this was way to runny and others too dry, it depends on how juicy the tomato’s are. I recommend pouring in enough that there is a bit of liquid in the saucepan and keep checking on it for the next 15mins. You don’t want it watery so don’t want to put in too much. If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan then add a bit more water.
4. Add in all the remaining ingredients, apart from the lime. Leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes depending on how well cooked you like your veg. I like mine verging on raw so only leave them for 5 minutes or so.
5. You are then finished, if you want to just make a chill then stop here, but for the chilli cheese fries, it is now a case of putting it together.
I take the chips from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Depending on how my day went depends on how much! Put this under the grill and leave until the cheese is melted. Remove and add a generous pile of chilli on top, and again sprinkle with cheese. This goes back under the grill until melted again. Before serving up I add a good squeeze of lime juice, this really really makes all the flavours come out. I have not yet found a chilli that cant be saved with a good squeeze of lime!
And that is it, an awesome weeknight comfort food dinner from fridge to plate in 1 hour. Although you only spend around 20mins of that actually cooking, most of the time is spent waiting for the chips!