Saturday, August 2, 2008

Aussie Cheese Fries in Tennessee

I'll just start by saying that if you've never had Aussie Cheese Fries from Outback, you should make plans to go and try them. Like, tonight. But there are times I just want the fries and not the entire steak/salad/general Outback experience. So I've been experimenting on how to make them at home and decided to share what I've learned here, Pioneer Woman style.

First up is the cast of ingredients- nothing fancy, just a bunch of stuff from Target. You'll need:
  • a bag of frozen french fries- plain old cheap ones are just fine. I don't recommend steak fries or crinkly cut, though, because they're a little too thick for this dish.
  • bacon to taste - I used about 3/4 of a pound in this batch.
  • colby jack cheese- I recommend getting a block and shredding it yourself instead of buying a bag of pre-shredded. The pre-shred stuff tends to be a lot drier than if you do it yourself, so it doesn't melt as well.
  • ranch dressing- if you can get peppercorn ranch, that's great, but you'll still want to add more pepper
  • peppercorns in a grinder- no ground black pepper here!

Once the ingredients are assembled, it's time to cook the fries. Just follow the directions on the package, except you may want to cook them just a touch longer than suggested. They should be dry and firm to the touch- mushy fries just do not work in this recipe.

While the fries are cooking, get the bacon started, as well. I cook mine on my George Foreman grill. If you haven't cooked bacon on one of these, you don't know what you're missing- like grease splatters. Okay, maybe you do know what you're missing...

It'll take a few shifts to get all the bacon cooked, but you can just let it go while you do something else. Like shred the cheese...

This is the grating blade for my salad shooter. I don't think I've ever actually shot a salad out of it, but it's awesome for grating cheese quickly.

Just look at that luscious pile of cheese...

The bacon and fries should pretty much be done at the same time (depending on how many sets of bacon you had to cook- bigger grills can of course hold more). Once the bacon cools, chop it into small (but not tiny) bits.

Spread a layer of fries in the bottom of a deep Pyrex dish. You'll want to use about a third of your fries for this- we'll be doing this in layers.

Then add a layer of cheese...

And finally some bacon.

Don't add the rest of the layers yet. Instead, place the dish in the oven for a few minutes after creating each layer- just long enough to melt the cheese like so.

I used to just pile it all in the dish and bake it together, but then the cheese in the middle didn't melt as fast as the cheese on the top, which would eventually get all brown and dry. This way is much better.

Once the cheese on the first layer has melted, repeat adding the fries, cheese, and bacon and then baking for the second and third layer. Once finished, the dish should look something like this:

Can't you just feel your arteries clogging just looking at that photo?

While that's cooling off, it's time to prepare the dressing. Nothing tricky here- just grind a bunch of peppercorn into the ranch dressing. The more peppercorn, the merrier.

Just a warning- you have to eat these fries with a fork!

Excuse me while I make a quick aside....Hey, Dad!! Check out my bokeh!!!

Yummm...time for me to go eat!


gardenmamasan said...

I just completed 30 minutes of Wii Fit-- 10 min of Hula Hoop followed by yoga and strength training...
these yummy looking photos came to mind many times. :-) I’ve never tasted the cheese fries but I could go for the total Outback experience about now. :-)

This is so beautifully done and makes me want to try them soon. I'd love to see more recipes presented like this. :-)

Great Job. :-)

Sharis said...

These look so good!