Monday, January 9, 2012

Homemade Potato Chips

For all of 2011, I told myself... I'm going to make potato chips.  I can do it.  I mean, how hard can it really be??  But I time after time, I talked myself into not making them.  It wasn't until November when we had dinner with Beth, Michael and Manuel that I finally decided that I was really going to do it.  What happened during dinner??  I was inspired.  Manuel was telling me about how his sister was craving jalepeño potato chips.  Hey... I crave those too!!  Instead of buying her a bag chips, he went to the store and bought everything to MAKE the chips for her!  Color me impressed... I vowed from that moment, that before the year was over that I was going to MAKE potato chips.  Aaaannnnndddd..... I procrastinated until December 29!!
YES.... they were so incredibly yummy that we ate the whole batch in one sitting.  My kids were crazy impressed to see that chips can be MADE!  If anything, I feel like that was the best reward of making potato chips.  I really love when my kids see where food comes from and how it's made.
And how potato chips are made is one of the easiest things I've ever done!  (Yes, I say that a lot, but it's true!!)  This is all it takes:

Homemade Potato Chips

2 lbs russet potatoes
Peanut or canola oil (I used both.)
Sea salt

Slice the potatoes very thin with a vegetable slicer or mandolin. Soak the potato slices in cold water. Drain, then soak again.  (This step will help eliminate some of the starch which means crispy chips!)

Place 2-3 inches of oil in large pot (one with high sides is best) to 375 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Drain the potatoes and pat them dry.  (Remember water makes oil "pop"... so dry them well!)  Place a handful of potatoes into the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown.  This takes a few minutes, so be sure to gently toss them around to ensure they cook evenly.  Remove the chips with a slotted spoon and drain. Season with sea salt or whatever other seasonings you like :)  Repeat frying with remaining potatoes.

Ok... now as awesome as the homemade potato chips were, I do have a couple of issues that I feel are important to share.  One thing that I wasn't crazy about was having a hot pot of oil on my stovetop.  In fact, that was my main reason that I kept procrastinating on making the chips.  Of course, it wasn't as bad as I had made up that it would be... BUT.... having kids that like to be actively involved in whatever I'm making in the kitchen made me a bit nervous.  In order to have them be involved in the chip making, I kept them at a distance from the oil and had them pat the potatoes dry to prepare them to be fried!  The other thing is that when I was done frying the potatoes, I was left with a pan of used oil.  I was so perplexed as to what I should do with it that I let it sit on my stovetop for a day!  Not completely sure what to do with used oil, I dumped it on my compost pile.  (Yes, I know... it was probably the wrong move.)  Any ideas?? What would you do??

That being said, I think that everyone should make homemade potato chips.  The end result is so much more rewarding than tearing a bag open.  And even though I'm not crazy about all the oil,  I would totally make potato chips again.  It's definitely something special...  potato chips are a rare treat in our house (I bought 7 bags in 2011!).  I'm hoping that making potato chips will trump buying them.  BUT...  I'd like to try making them differently.  I think my first stop will be here.