Irish chips are simply delicious, soft and tender on the inside and just slightly crispy on the outside. Their thick cut is perfect for absorbing the bitter-sweet goodness of malt vinegar drizzled on top.
Let’s straighten up our terminology here: In Ireland chips are french fries. A typical American chip is called a crisp, a cookie is a biscuit and a biscuit is a scone. I could go on and on, but that’s a topic for another day. It sure can get confusing!!!!
So just so we are straight, we are cooking french fries Irish style today!
American french fries are thinner than an Irish chip, which is thinner than an American steak fry. They are not as crispy on the outside as most American fries and definitely don’t receive any extra seasonings – just plain, fried, potato goodness.
Cooking the perfect Irish chip is not as simple as chopping a few spuds and plunging them straight into hot oil. This just doesn’t work – by the time the inside of the chip has softened, the outside is just too crispy and burnt.
My trick for cooking the perfect Irish chip is parboiling.
- 4 large russet potatoes
- Sea salt
- 6 pints of canola oil for deep frying.
Peel the potatoes.
Here’s how I cut them to get the right size. Halve the potato lengthwise, then quarter it lengthwise. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise, then each eighth size piece in half again. Each potato should yield 16 long chips.
Yikes! That sounds like a crazy math lesson!!! Confused yet????
Here is my pile of chips. Now, recipes for perfect french fries call for soaking the cut potatoes in water for hours before cooking. This reduces the starch. The next step involves pre-frying the fries in oil at 300 degrees. Later, when ready to serve, the pre-cooked chips are fried once again in super hot oil.
This method involves way too much planning for me. When I want chips I usually don’t realize it until an hour or two before dinner, and planning all that pre-soaking just takes too much time for me. I also think cooking in oil at a lower temperature only allows the chip to soak up too much fat.
My solution is to parboil the sliced potatoes to help remove some starch and to start the cooking process before final immersion in hot oil.
So toss the sliced potatoes into a large saucepan and cover the chips with water. Season with some salt at this stage. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for just 4 minutes. Don’t overcook the chips or they will fall apart before frying.
Drain the chips into a colander and just let them sit there for 5 to 10 minutes. They will steam away, drying out in the process, making them perfect for dipping into hot oil. Dry fries minimizes a crazy, sizzling ‘oil meets wet chips’ frying reaction.
In addition, I like this steam drying process. It eliminates the need to pat the fries dry with paper towels or dish towels – much less mess.
Pour the oil into a large dutch oven or deep frying pan, bringing the level to a little under half full. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
When frying with hot oil be very careful. Keep the pot on the back burner so little ones don’t get splashed or burned.
Lower the parboiled chips into the hot oil. Be prepared for the sizzle!
Don’t put too many chips into the pan at once or they will stick together. My dutch oven is big enough to cook two potatoes worth of chips at the same time.
Cook them until they are just turning golden. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how many chips are in the pot together.
Carefully remove them from the oil with a metal strainer, and place them on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
Serve with burgers, chicken or my favorite – beer battered fish and mushy peas. Look at those beautiful Irish chips, cut thick with a soft center and a lovely golden, slightly crispy finish.
They are just crying out for a sprinkle of malt vinegar and a little shake of salt.
Here is the printable recipe:
Happy chip making!!
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
You can check out all by Irish cooking tips on my recipe index page here.