Something that bothers us greatly is how certain types of food get categorised as “good” and “bad” – spoken about like a bunch of school children. Fish & chips: bad. Quinoa and pea shoots: good. Taco fries: bad. Smoothie bowls: Good. Food is there to be eaten, and we always say it’s best practice to cook from scratch as often as possible. Use fresh ingredients, use the best quality products you can afford, and put your own twists on things to keep everything fresh and exciting.
Annoyingly, to introduce this dish, the aforementioned taco fries (a much-loved dish from our Instagram feed and overwhelmingly requested), we have to resort to the good and bad mantra once more. We like to call this a “good” version of a “bad” dish. Why is it bad? Because it’s on the menu of some of our favourite takeaway and fast food restaurants around the country (read: the chip shop). Why is it good? Because it’s homemade, almost everything from scratch. But frankly, it’s far more than that. It’s better than just ‘good’ because the flavour is unreal. Some sort of magic takes place when you mix our spicy mayo with the chilli beef underneath – it’s creamy and cooling but packs a fiery punch right after.
🍟 Taco Fries 🌮
Serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people…)
- One red onion (or half a large), finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
- 500g lean-ish beef mince (10% fat)
- 2 chillies, de-seeded and finely diced
- 1 can kidney beans, mostly drained
- 100ml passata or finely chopped fresh tomatoes
- 4 large white potatoes, (skin-on optional)
- Spray Oil (Sunflower or vegetable)
- Good quality mayonnaise (we like Heinz Seriously Good)
- Sriracha or Frank’s Hot Sauce
- A dash of Tabasco
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced in rounds, for garnish
- A good cheddar or gruyere
- A small handful of fresh chives, chopped
1. Sweat the mince on a high heat in a little butter until browned and starting to crisp. Remove from the pan and then add in the diced onion, garlic and chillies as you reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook out slowly for a couple of minutes, but don’t allow to brown. You want them to be soft.
2. Then, add the mince back in alongside the passata and the kidney beans followed by about half a cup of water, just to slacken the mixture slightly but not drown it.
3. Amp up the heat and when it comes to the boil bring it right back down to low and clamp on a lid, cooking down for 20 minutes. This step can absolutely be done the night before and just re-heated when ready to serve.
4. Meanwhile, make your chips. Thickly cut large skin-on potatoes into chips and par-boil for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. You just want to begin to soften the chips, not falling apart.
5. Drain immediately and wash under cold water to bring down the temperature. Heat the oven to 220ºC and spray a baking tray(s) with spray oil.
6. Arrange the chips on the trays and spray as well with a little of the oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp, turning a couple of times if needed.
7. Make the spicy mayonnaise by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and stirring, it will be a tame orange colour and will be spicy – season and spice to taste, though.
8. Assemble with a generous handful of chips, topped by the mince mixture, followed by a tablespoon or two of the spicy mayonnaise and finish with a generous grating of cheese over the top. Strew the chives and chillies on top and around the plate for garnish.